You may have heard of the fourth Industrial Revolution, but what exactly is it? It's definitely a topic that has been talked about over the past few years but gained even more prominence after it became a focal point of conversation at the recent World Economic Forum. The first Industrial Revolution was characterized by steam and water. The second Industrial Revolution was the introduction of electricity to mass produce things. The third is characterized by the internet, communication technologies, and the digitalization of everything. The fourth Industrial Revolution is the concept of blurring the real world with the technological world.
Here's a great visual from the WEF.
We can see this happening in several areas already. Virtual reality that allows us to transport to new worlds or consume and interact with information in new ways, robots and software working side-by-side with humans, nano-bots that could one day be injected into your blood stream to cure you of an illness, 3D printing tools and limbs, voice controlling your house, tools like IBM Watson being used to help a doctor diagnose you, and that's just for starters! We also have to consider things such as the internet of everything and big data.
The blurring of technology into every part of our lives is becoming the norm. However, the impact that the fourth Industrial Revolution will have or the direction it will take are not yet known. A wave of technology is now crashing into our personal and professional lives like a ton of bricks. So the question becomes, when technology fuses with people, how does that impact and change our lives? How will the way we work change? How is the fourth Industrial Revolution going to alter the way you work and live?