Here in the year 2019 we are in what some call the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The First Industrial Revolution started in the late 18th and early 19th centuries with the creation of industries such as coal, iron, railroads and textiles. Moving into the late 19th and early 20th centuries we enter into the Second Industrial Revolution with the development of Electricity, Petroleum, and Steel. The Third Industrial Revolution starting mid-20th century can be defined with the advent of electronics and information technology. All three of these revolutions had a huge influence on businesses, geopolitics, and society at large. We are now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and this too will have an enormous impact to on all three of these entities.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is comprised of technologies such as 5G networks, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Robotics, 3D, and Cloud. All of these technologies are converging together to create new lines of business and will also impact us socially and politically. From a business perspective we will see more human/robotic interaction. The impact of Internet-of-Things will impact the enterprise as well as one’s home. How best to protect and secure data is critical. It is not only businesses that are impacted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution but governments as well. At the local level for example Smart City technology will help pedestrian and vehicular traffic with co-ordination of traffic lights and traffic flow. Emergency vehicles will be able to set all traffic lights to red making it easier for them to get thru traffic.
Many people do not like government interfering in their lives, however it is inevitable that government will have an impact. Regulations on technology, on how data is protected will be monitored by governments. Self-monitoring by industry will not suffice. A recent example of industry self-monitoring would be the problem Boeing is facing with their 737-Max airplanes. Those planes have been grounded for many months now globally by governments because of two plane crashes that were caused by software errors. Errors that may have been picked up by more rigorous testing not by Boeing itself but rather by an independent third party.
The biggest issue and concern within the Fourth Industrial Revolution is one of Geo-Politics. Across all Industrial Revolutions technology becomes an enabler of how governments will gain or lose power. As in the past Industrial Revolutions the first movers gain the power and set the rules. In order to mitigate this power from any one group or country, governments need to agree on regulations and codes of ethics that all governments, businesses and people must abide by. In doing so you will protect against the downside of technology, which enables suppression of people and countries. The advancement through the past Industrial Revolutions have given people better living opportunities, but do not lose sight that each of these revolutions have had a downside where the technology is used militarily or financially to suppress people and or countries. This is the conundrum that we as a society face and must resolve in an equitable fashion. Failure to do so will result in a country or consortium of countries that have the upper hand on technology controlling those that haven’t succeeded in adopting the new technology. This is bigger than one business out-performing another due to technology adoption and is why technology adoption by governments make Geo-Politics most critical to be controlled and managed.
Most Popular Blogs