Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a process of technological and industrial development that is linked to the organization of processes and means of production, as well as the previous three.

The first time that all these advances began to be discussed as a Fourth Industrial Revolution was in 2011. The key element of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is the smart factories, whose main characteristic is greater adaptability to the needs of production and An improvement in resource efficiency.

This Fourth Industrial Revolution focuses on cyber-physical systems, robotics, the internet of things, the connection between devices and the cooperative coordination of the production units of the economy.

The foundations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the last chapter, so far, of the different industrial revolutions ( first , second and third ) that Humanity has lived through. In this fourth case, the foundations on which it stands are:

  • The internet of things.
  • Robotics
  • Connected devices
  • The cyberphysical systems.
  • The “do it yourself” (maker culture).
  • The factory 4.0. (cyber factory or smart-industries).

Robotics, as one of the most avant-garde and innovative branches in the field of engineering, plays a major role in this context. It is expected that nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, drones and 3D printers will serve to modify different aspects of our current societies. Spaces such as medicine,  high precision industry or labor relations will have an important impact with this new industrial revolution.

However, the reality is that although these elements are the basis of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we cannot understand that they are elements that are consolidated. In fact, it is possible to interpret that we are currently immersed in this process, with the variability and unpredictability that this entails in relation to its result.

Changes in the world of work

The world of work and the configuration of the labor market will be some of the areas where the repercussions will be most important. According to some forecasts, 5 million jobs will be lost in 15 industrialized countries in the coming years, as a result of the robotization and mechanization of more and more tasks. This possibility creates a space of uncertainty, given that many workers will be affected by the expansion of a new productive model. Especially, unemployment may increase in sectors linked to unskilled labor and whose tasks are more mechanical and manual, as well as those of an administrative nature.

However, thanks to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, new windows of opportunity will also open, with the emergence of new markets for labor. In this sense, it is expected that with the new advances new professions will appear whose tasks focus on the production of these new technologies, on data analysis, related to digital capabilities or on commercial tasks specialized in the new products. Also in management areas, where creativity and the creation of new ideas and products will be nailed, in a market in constant change and rapid obsolescence.

The economy of the present and the future

In addition to changes in the workplace, the actions will be felt, and in some cases it has already done so, in very different aspects. The new  economy that is coming will have a high digitization component. Thus, it is considered that some of the impacts that can already be perceived are related to geopolitical volatility, the expansion of internet and cloud computing, advances in computing and Big Data, the popularization of the collaborative economy, the flexibility of the labor market or the transition to greener economies, aware of the limitations of natural resources.

It is expected, along with these repercussions, that others will appear, such as the development of new, cleaner forms of energy, the proliferation of robotics and autonomous automotive or, even, aspects related to cybersecurity and cyber attacks.

Obviously, all these particularities that will be developed in the coming years, or at least so expected, will involve changes, challenges, possibilities and dangers. To minimize the most negative aspects, while maximizing the positive elements, will be one of the main priorities that will have to be managed. And, in this, the ability to regulate this process and its repercussions in an appropriate manner will undoubtedly become very important.

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