A Simple Understanding Of The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Understanding the 4th Industrial Revolution & Innovation Easily book is available for sale on Amazon.

Fourth Industrial Revolution - Graphic by Christoph Roser at www.AllAboutLean.com
Fourth Industrial Revolution – Graphic by Christoph Roser at www.AllAboutLean.com

Do you battle to understand is the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Relax, once you understand innovation and evolution in the context I will give below, you will have a high-level interpretation of what the Fourth Industrial Revolution – and the previous ones are, why and how it forms, and how to take part in it.

The standard – and the most cut pasted –  definition of the Fourth Industrial Revolution goes like this: The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres, collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems. It is marked by emerging technology breakthroughs in a number of fields, including robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the Internet of Things, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), decentralized consensus, fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G), additive manufacturing/3D printing and fully autonomous vehicles.

The simple context to understand (Fourth) Industrial Revolutions: Evolution and new-innovation

What is innovation? It is that which works, i.e. is effective and thus successful.

When a comedian tells a joke and makes you laugh, the joke is the innovation because it is effective and successful with its intention to make you laugh.

Innovation is that which works and thus is successful.

When the joke is repeated – say you have the comedy film – and it still makes you laugh, it is thusly still an innovation because works: I.e. is effective and successful in making you laugh.

Innovation is that which works and is effective, regardless of whether it’s old or new.

So, to build a ground of understanding, distinction and narration in this post, let’s call innovation that is new (e.g. a new joke) a ‘new-innovation.’ And, let’s call innovation that is old or exists as just ‘innovation.’

‘New-innovation,’ happens, or, it is adding/fusing/mixing/stacking two or more innovations, components, attributes or things (it could be anything). In addition, the mixed components should sync and/or ascend to make a new thing – a new-innovation – that works, i.e. it is effective or efficient, and thus succeeds to achieve a role.

For example:

  • YouTube mixed internet and video to produce a new innovative tool that was efficient, virtual and agile: This was online-streamed videos.
  • Facebook mixed text, video and many other tech innovations – old and new. It was a new-innovation when it came out. Facebook keeps adding other innovations to keep in the lead.
  • A wooden chair mixed wood and a geometric structure that allows a person to seat.
  • Even a new joke (new or old) mixes two or more components. Example of a joke:- ‘Q: Why are men’s feet on average longer than women’s? A: So they can stand further from responsibility.’ That’s a funny joke I made up. It mixes both genders, adds feet, and reflects a societal perception or notion that men run away from parental responsibly.

Remember, a new-innovation has to work, be effective and thus succeed in order to be a new-innovation. This post is only about explaining innovation so to help you understand what is the 4IR.To find out about the dynamics and mechanics of what makes a new-innovations to succeed, go to this post here http://www.tiisetsomaloma.com/conmetrical

We human beings are also an innovation. An old one at that. We are a mixture of atoms and molecules. But, plus-minus 200 thousand years ago we were a new-innovation when we evolved into homo sapiens. Our innovation or evolution was a mixture of two or more genes or atoms and molecules.

Therefore, new-innovation is innovation that moves forward.

Human beings evolved to have cognition with the ability to make objects and move innovations forward – thus we are ever producing new-innovations. Animals can’t make cars like us – or rather all the other animals can’t. However, we can. Even though monkeys love a banana shake, they can’t make (invent) a blender to make the shake. They invent nothing those monkeys.

The ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is nothing but innovation moving forward in the manners detailed above

This was so with the previous Industrial Revolutions: 1st Industrial Revolution (mechanisation, water power, steam power), 2nd Industrial Revolution (mass production, assembly line) and 3rd Industrial Revolution (computers and automation).

In a simple sense, the Fourth Industrial Revolution means there have been breakthroughs in different fields – as always because human beings are ever innovating forward, e.g. biotechnology, 3D printing and nanotechnology.

Humans are wired like that.

This revolution like other revolutions is the inter-stacking or fusion of existing (older and current) innovations to produce new-innovations. Innovation stacks and inter stacks.

  • Like mixing video and the internet to have YouTube.
  • Mixing wood and geometry to have a wooden chair. Mixing wood, steal and geometry to have wooden-steal-chair.
  • Or mixing electronics with biology to create heart a heart/cardiac pacemaker to save lives.

Let me give you an absurd example of what happens or is possible in this current (Fourth) Industrial Revolution.

Nanotechnologies are a breakthrough. 3D printing is a breakthrough. These two technologies are more or less separate or seem so. New-innovation is about bringing together and or inter-stacking other innovations and components to have a new or improved innovation.

Imagine that we mix 3D printing and nanotechnologies. Nano is one billionth of a metre, i.e. the measurement metre zoomed into a billion times – it is very small. We can maybe be able to produce a particle or equipment that can go into the human body to kill off cancer cells – because human hands are too big to handle nano-sized particles. N.B. This is very absurd and maybe not possible within this (Fourth) Industrial Revolution but another.

This illustration above is to show simply that an Industrial Revolution is stacking up of existing innovations to produce new and agile innovations. It follows the same model of creating new-innovation – i.e. stacking innovations. Newness cannot be created out of nothing. It stems out from existing components.

Here are current examples in the current Industrial Innovation (also their newness/novelty is in stacking up of current innovations):

1.     Smart refrigerators

Source – Wikipedia: The LG Internet Digital DIOS smart refrigerator. It provides information such as inside temperature, the freshness of stored foods, nutrition information and recipes. Other features are a webcam that is used as a scanner and tracks what is inside the refrigerator. In addition, the electricity consumption is half the level of conventional refrigerators.

Smart refrigerators stack-up existing refrigeration engineering, new power saving technology, camera, and plus other innovations.

2.     Virtual assistants

Source – Wikipedia: Amazon Alexa virtual assistant. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information, such as news. Alexa can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation system.

Virtual assistants stack up voice recognition, Wi-Fi, and plus other innovations.

3.     Cryptocurrencies

Source – Wikipedia: Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer Bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries. Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.

Cryptocurrency fuses money with blockchain technology, crowdsourcing, and plus other innovations.

4.     Genetic testing

With just your saliva, predictions can be made of your vulnerabilities to inherited deceases. If it can be predicted it can be curbed.

Source – Wikipedia: 23andMe offers DNA ancestry testing and other health diagnoses.

Genetic testing fuses microarray chips, data, and plus other innovations.

In closing (of Fourth Industrial Revolution)

The examples above are a combination and or intercombination of existing innovations. Some new and some old. The whole point it to achieve newer agility, use, effectiveness and efficiency.

This is how (Fourth or any upcoming) Industrial Revolution forms. The why is because human beings innovate further and further. If you aren’t, someone out there is – building an empire. It is a competitive environment.

The rest if for you to brainstorm what new-innovations can be and maybe create them.

Advanced understanding of innovation: How successful products reflect our biology – The Human Greed Pyramid cheat sheet

  • Human beings (PEOPLE) are part of NATURE (first layer in the pyramid).
  • NATURAL INCLINATIONS is where consumption patterns shape. It is the evolutional biology and psychology of the choices we make.
  • Some of the INCLINATIONS: Lust, love, anger, joy happiness, need for community, etc.
  • How does nature relate to human/natural inclinations? Hunger is satisfied by eating food that nature
  • People’s natural inclinations push them to form cultures, e.g. tribes. Even animals organise themselves into what we choose to call packs, herds, or troops.
  • People use their cognition to innovate, i.e. create manmade Both hard (a chair) and soft innovations (software, marriage, jokes).
  • Innovation is that which works, is effective and thus successful. If it does not work, it is not innovative.
  • Successful innovations mirror people’s inclinations hence they are consumed massively. They feed inclinations. Or else they fail.
  • e. there is a psychobiological link between humanly inclinations and innovation.
  • People created and craze and crave Facebook, Mc Donald’s, YouTube, iPhone – to the next phone better than an iPhone, religion, marriage, a beautiful/sexy partner – and another bae on the side, porn, etc.
  • This is because these things satisfy people’s inclinations.
  • Inclinations manifest themselves in these innovations. E.g., human beings have evolved to have a sweet tooth – i.e. to love sugary foods. The juicier the fruit, the calorie filled it is, and that is how our ancestors adapted to consuming sugar – that piece of juicy steak, passing this to us genetically and epigenetically. Then commerce made processed sugar to capitalize further. Hence we love Coke and ice cream.
  • The innovations become part of cultures depending on the extent of their success and spread – new innovations can topple or divide old innovations.
  • Humans are greedy beings. We want more and more innovations. We push to beat current innovations. It is a biological inclination.
  • But also, there are those who want nostalgia.

To read further on The Human Greed Pyramid, click here.

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Tiisetso Maloma in this regard is acting as principal at PsychHero, a consulting agency in Business Enterprise Development, Innovation Analysis, and Consumer Behaviour Influence from an evolutionary, Neuro-Linguistic, individual and social lens.