The best way to predict your future is to create it. In the recent history there were 4 industrial revolutions, that had profound implications on how we live, work and relate, changed power spheres.
The first industrial revolution started around 1765 and brought us mechanisation, coal extraction, steam engine invention, railroads development and a new know-how in metal shaping. The second one, starting 1870 implied new source of energy: electricity, gas and oil, invention of the combustion engine and modern cars, development of steel industry and chemical synthesis, but also the invention of the telegraph and the telephone. The third industrial revolution, staring in 1969, was about nuclear energy, rise of electronics, telecommunications and computers which led to space exploration, biotechnology and starting of automation.
We are now living the 4th industrial revolution with emergence of the internet, digitalisation, big and small data, artificial intelligence, nanotechnologies and so many others disruptive technologies. We are building a new virtual world in cloud, from which we can steer the physical world. By 2025 there will be more 50 billion connected to internet in what we call Internet of Things.
Technology will transform products and organisations, the way we design, make and build, use and maintain. Furthermore it will change us, how we consume, produce or feel. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Nanotechnology together with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will disrupt all industries, from health to accounting or space travel. Not only that we will live longer and be able to cure almost all diseases by bio-engineering and 3D printing organs, but there’s also a possibility towards immortality, the Holy Grail of humanity.
Autonomous robots and simulations will transform the factories of the future. We will shift towards modularity and flexibility in building products and services, while customer centricity will become the norm, manufacturers are gaining a better understanding of customer needs by applying big data and analytics to obtain insights into how customers use products. We will adopt continuous improvement, which will increase employee productivity and optimisation of the processes and material flows, all this enhancing competitiveness in the global market.
What would therefore be our purpose in life in a world that doesn’t need us to work? How will our daily life look like? What about our competitive advantage against robots? How will the world look like for the first time in history when low-skilled labour will disappear, not just replaced? These are hard but important questions we have to address in order to create the future we want.
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