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  • Writer's picturePooja Iyer Mukherjee

The Rebirth of Adam

It is a great time to be alive and kicking. We are watching the sun rise to a new era - the industrial revolution 4.0 and the technological innovations it brings with it. At the heart of it all is artificial intelligence.

The term, Industry 4.0 was first popularized by Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of The World Economic Forum Founder.


Before talking about 4.0, it would be nice to walk down the memory lane and take a brief look at the first, second and the third.

Back in the 18th century, came the first industrial revolution in Britain, enabling mass production using hydro power- steam and water, instead of using animal and human power.

A century later came the second, bringing with it assembly lines and the use of oil, gas and electric power. This was the first time a significant degree of automation was introduced into mass production; with new power sources along with advanced communications like the telephone and telegraph.

Then came the third. In the middle of the 20th century , with advanced telecommunications, data analysis and manufacturing processes, began the third industrial revolution- digitalization in major areas. From factories using embedded programmable logic controllers (PLCs) into machinery replacing some of human work.


We are standing at a critical juncture, where most of what we know is becoming obsolete, paving the way for disruptive technology, a new way of living and working. As we witness the mind boggling advances in every sector, it becomes evident that technology is set to create a revolution the world hasn’t seen before.

What is 4.0 in a nutshell

The Industrial revolution 4.0 is the fourth major revolution in the history of mankind, and brings with it, in its platter, new technologies like IOT (internet of things), cloud computing, robotics, machine learning, automation, and use of digital technology in every aspect of our personal and professional lives. In Schwab’s opinion, the changes will be more than just improvements in process efficiencies; there will be a significant shift in industrial capitalism.

May we say, most of the work that will be done from medical diagnosis to driving cars , maybe even planes, will be done by robots.

USA, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Sweden and Denmark are spear leading robotics globally.

Are humans becoming redundant ?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a form of technology that has the ability to learn and adapt to the environment, emulating human behavior to the maximum possible degree. AI is used to automate processes, enhance customer consumption, empower humans to do more with less.

The Technological Boom

As the world advances, relying itself mostly on technology, it brings with it a plethora of opportunities.

  1. Internet of Things : The IoT is the key to smart factories. Machines on the factory floors have embedded in them smart sensors that feature an IP address allowing machines to connect with other internet enabled devices. Why do we need this ? This combination of mechanization and connectivity allows for large volumes of valuable and confidential data, to be correctly collected, analyzed and exchanged.

  2. Cloud Computing : The Cloud allows the 4.0 to reach its full realization. For complete synergy, smart manufacturing demands connectivity and integration of the following processes- engineering, supply chain, production, sales, distribution and service. Cloud computing makes that possible. Added to this, one can also store and analyze large volumes of data, through the cloud, making it a cost effective, super power for small and big businesses across sectors.

  3. AI and Machine Learning : Taking advantage of the volumes of data collected, across business units , and creating insights to predict , judge and create solutions to prevent losses and risks, is the job of AI and Machine Learning. The countries that use AI to the maximum today are, USA, UK, Canada, France, Germany. In the present day, seven types of artificial intelligence are used around the world. As of 2021, 86 percent of global CEOs were using AI in their companies. 91.5 percent of global investments today are in AI based businesses and ideas. 3.25 billion people around the world are using machine learning today and this is just the beginning !

  4. Edge Computing : However much you plan in advance, one must be prepared for some “on the edge” data analysis, i.e analyzing data where it is created , in real time. This is to minimize latency time from the time of data production to the need for response.

  5. Cybersecurity : Data theft and cyber attacks were sixth and seventh largest global risks in 2020 in terms of occurrence and impact. 2021 also witnessed hackers take advantage of the pandemic and global cyber attacks hiked by a whopping 21%. The cyber criminals always look for a clink in the armor of IT systems. A digital transformation is thus incomplete without advancements in cybersecurity in technology and processes,especially in high risk sectors like financial institutions, defense, government dealings, aerospace, aviation, medicine and for individual social media securities.


A 180 degree transformation is needed in workplace culture and systems to bring about a successful 4.0.

Even an organization with the newest technologies and tools, will fail to scale up a 4.0 transformation, without a ready and re-skilled workforce. The need of the century if summed up can be the following:

  1. A remote or hybrid global workforce, hired to perform.

  2. The need for skill development in employees with a combination of hard and soft skills to extend competencies and tailor one to the rapidly changing world.

  3. Encouraging the employee to create an impact in their job roles, by introducing some degree of freedom in decision making.

  4. Recognising the achievements of the workforce and celebrating them as one with the organization.

  5. Encouraging the worker to have a voice.

If implemented correctly, with the correct vision and strategies , the industrial revolution 4.0 will be not a replacement for humans, but the biggest impetus for global and human development.

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