It is considered today that the world is embarking on its fourth Industrial Revolution.
The first began in 1760 with adaptations to Thomas Savery’s steam engine powering all manner of steam powered machinery. Initial scepticism Surrounding his 1698 invention meant that utilitarian development of his invention was so impeded that it preceded the revolution it powered by over 60 years. It was because of the persistent, curious and imaginative minds of free-thinking people that refused to be constrained by history or convention, that ideas were mooted and developmental difficulties were overcome. That said, It was only after the technology had been understood and accepted that its development was untethered.
The second Industrial Revolution began with the invention of alternating current electricity. This new technology was too treated with scepticism and suspicion. When Michael Faraday invented the electricity producing dynamo in 1831 it was a further half a century before others had applied their minds to this new technology leading Godalming in England to become the world’s first town to have electric streetlights.
Initial scepticism was so great to this new technology that in an effort to discredit it the inventor Thomas Edison, actually electrocuted animals including an elephant to argue that Alternating Current electricity was dangerous and should not be allowed. Fortunately his arguments failed and after a slow start development of electrical power and associated systems abounded.
The third Industrial Revolution was powered by computers and the development of the internet. Early days saw these new technologies derided as fads or toys. Scepticism fought dismissiveness for prominence. Thomas Watson (head of IBM) famously said that he could only see a worldwide market for maybe five computers. It was further considered that computers would have no real use other than perhaps at National Government or military level. Fortunately, again, the curious picked up the batons and ran off in all kinds of different directions.
We should remember (those of us old enough) that it was not too many years ago (1990’s) that there were so few email accounts in existence that could use your name as your email address without the need for a 007 type suffix. Email was a fad and take up was slow but again, once the technology had been accepted the brakes were off.
IR4.0 is facing the same challenges regarding acceptance. This new revolution will centre around Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. However, it is Blockchain Technology that will coalesce and bind these components into a single mass. A knowing.
The Internet of Things, which will help feed the tech based world’s insatiable appetite for data, will also be based in Blockchain Technology. Blockchain Technology will provide a transparent incorruptible platform/conduit upon which, and through which, all that can be routinely trusted will be based.
Throughout history Human nature has been routinely suspicious and dismissive of technological advancement and change. Whilst the world is changing at an ever increasing rate, as we enter a new Industrial Revolution, the pattern remains the same.
So, as we stare at the slowly building wave that will be Industrial Revolution 4.0 instead of pushing back in some hopeless Canutian attempt to hold back the tide we should be embracing the new and finding ways to speed up the process and facilitate access to all.