AUTHOR: Kiri Nowak

Cyber physical systems, IOT and supercomputing: what is the fourth industrial revolution?

We live in exciting times. And let's face it, we're pretty extraordinary people.

Steam and water power? Nailed it. Electricity? Easy. Electronics and computers? Smashed it - not literally - that wouldn't set us up very well for what's to come.


So, erm, what exactly IS yet to come?

Well, we are closing in rather rapidly on what some are describing as a technological revolution that will significantly change the way we live, the way we communicate, the way we work and probably the way we breathe...okay perhaps that's one stretch too far, but you get the idea.




4IR - what does it mean?

Hailed as 'the fourth industrial revolution', or 4IR to it's closest pals, it's essentially an extension on where we're currently at with the third - the digital revolution. A mix of cyber physical systems, networks and the Internet of Things, the fourth industrial revolution encompasses new ways in which technology will become integral to society. It could even find it's way into the human body - talk about invasive.

The fourth revolution isn't picky when it comes to industry. In fact, the more it can fit into its exponential hands the better, as far as it's concerned. With breakthroughs in connectivity, artificial intelligence - we're looking at you, Haley Joel Osment - biotechnology, and other cutting edge technologies, this clever little revolution is looking to combine the digital, physical and even biological arenas.

Check out the pretty mind blowing documentary below for a more tangible grasp on what to expect from this technological uprising.



What does this mean for my future?

Fancy programming a robot? Who DOESN'T?

Well, according to this Government-commissioned report, chaired by the CEO of Siemens - Professor Jurgen Maier - opportunities like this could be within your bionically-engineered reach.

But with robotics on the rise, surely this means job cuts, not increased opportunity? Not necessarily. Professor Maier states that the creation of these super cool new jobs is plausible and that not only will productivity and further exports be created, but this fourth industrial revolution opens up the possibility of training. In fact, 1 million existing workers in the industrial and manufacturing sector look set to become cyber physical system specialists. Try saying that 5 times fast.




what are the risks?

Now, work is one thing but let's also look at other potentials in the world of supercomputing. Technologies, such as the IOT - hello, shiny new Smart Meter - are one way of donning a positive electronic skin. Oh, and no Friday night would be complete without your local takeaway arriving by drone. But as with any sort of revolution, comes prospective risks.

Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder of the World Economic Forum, has published a book entitled 'The Fourth Industrial Revolution', in which he describes concerns related to security, and the possibility that governments may not carry out these new technologies in the proper way. Klaus goes on to describe that inequalities could grow rather than minimise, if such technologies are not managed in the most effective of ways.




With the world on the brink of such a seismic revolution, all automated hands must be on deck, as we all take on the responsibility for steering such a powerful supercomputing ship. We have a choice to make here, and all of us have a very humanistic part to play when it comes to shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution in a way that works for us all.  To find out how you could get more involved in the fourth revolution, take a browse through our IT courses.

After all, it may not be too long before our inter-connected web brains will redefine what being a human is all about…


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