Monday, 24 September 2018

It's not just digitalisation

I have had a bit of an Aha Moment this week. I've been banging on in this blog and in my work, about digital and analogue, and how increasingly the division is disappearing. How customers don't really distinguish between on- and off-line, or the different online channels, and that it's the brand behind it all that matters.

I've now learned that we're in the 4th Industrial Revolution, a term coined by Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and that this isn't just about "phygital" - it's about the fusion of technologies blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres aka cyber-physical systems. Some of those technologies are robotics, AI, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the Internet of Things and 5th generation (5G) wireless technology.

For the record, here is the series of Industrial Revolutions:

1st Industrial Revolution: in the 18th/19th century, when rural moved to industrial and urban, powered by steam

2nd Industrial Revolution: 1870 - 1914, the age of mass-production, powered by electricity

3rd Industrial Revolution aka Digital Revolution: this started in the 1980s, it's about automation and the internet. We're still in the midst of it although we're now seeing the beginnings of the

4th Industrial Revolution aka Industry 4.0 which is about the embedding of technology into human beings and society

An interesting implication of this is found in the speech by Mark Carney entitled "The Future of Work".  Thanks to Good Business for highlighting this in their super newsletter.

While previous industrial revolutions meant that machines will take on tasks previously done by human hands, today, tasks involving cognitive (head) work are increasingly being automated. Does this mean a resurgence in the importance of the human heart? One can only hope so.

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