What is 4IR

There’s a lot of talk about the 4th Industrial Revolution, one of the current buzz words going on today, hash tags like #4IR #4IRSA and many others, and everyone else keeps on asking, “What is this 4IR?”. And this blog is all about introducing the 4th industrial revolution. Interested, keep on reading…

Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is not just an abstract concept. It’s the 4th cycle of the industrialists. So, I guess the first thing to speak about is, what is these industrial revolution all about?

The Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in history; almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. In particular, average income and population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth. Some economists say that the major effect of the Industrial Revolution was that the standard of living for the general population in the western world began to increase consistently for the first time in history, although others have said that it did not begin to meaningfully improve until the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Summary of the revolutions

·      In this story, the first era is the period of natural production, lasting from the dawn of the human species approximately 300,000 years ago and continuing until approximately 10,000 years in the past. During this period, humans consumed the bounty of nature and were shaped by the natural world.


·      The second era is the period of sustainable food production, rising with the development of agriculture sometime around 9,000 BC and extending to the middle of the 18th century. In this era, humans and their eventually domesticated animal companions used their physical strength and intellectual skills to create the infrastructure and production necessary to nourish larger, less transient human settlements. Some examples of this era include seasonal farming, irrigation systems, and food-storage facilities.


·      The third era is the period of industrialized labour, rising with the energy-saving inventions of the 18th century, such as the steam engine and the water-powered spinning frame for textile mills. This fundamentally new era represented the dehumanization of physical strength. After the development of the first machines, systems began outcompeting humans and domesticated animals in every area where brute strength and physical prowess were the critical components of production. The result was that humans had to either compete with machines on price, or switch to new, more intellectual forms of labour in order to produce the goods and services consumed by society.

·      The fourth era is the period of industrialized intelligence, rising with the mental-energy-saving inventions of the mid-20th century and continuing through today. Much as the industrial revolution dehumanized biological strength with machines, the displacement of biological intelligence with computers represents the dehumanization of intellectual labour.  Projecting current techniques a few years forward suggests that autonomous systems will eventually be capable of outcompeting humans in every area where intelligence is the key component of production.

4IR technologies?

keep close, we’ll talk about that in our next post …

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