AI: The 4th Industrial Revolution in Perspective

It can only be truly understood through the lens of the previous 3

#4IR

The fourth industrial revolution can only be truly understood and ramifications projected to some degree, through the lens of the previous 3 industrial revolutions.

Without a clear understanding of the previous three industrial revolutions, the fourth cannot be interpreted.

Each of the four industrial revolutions had a catalyst, a key technology activating and enabling the revolution. The technology was key, but eventually became underlying and a mere enabler. Never implemented for its own sake, but used as a catalyst to further the revolution.

The First…

The First Industrial Revolution had as its catalyst steam. Industries relied on wind and water power as well as horse and man-power.

The advent of steam engines augmented productivity and technology, and eventually allowed for smaller and better engines. From the high-pressure engine, transport-applications became possible, and steam engines were used in boats, railways, farms and road. Steam engines shows us that changes in industrialization caused changes in many other areas. Steel production soared with the use of steam. Steam was the catalyst; bridges, trade, transport, manufacturing etc. were the result.

The Second…

One of the most influential and far-reaching innovations of the Second Industrial Revolution was the internal combustion engine.

Companies do not run around stating, we have internal combustion engines baked in.

This is a mere enabler, which should not even be stated. And this enabler created a whole industry and industries around it as concentric circles. We don’t marvel at the internal combustion engine or electricity per say. We use it as tools to create tools, and shape our environments. In our current society it reached a state of ubiquity.

Electricity is an underlying enabling layer which has become transparent, on which we build.

The Third…

This digital revolution migrated us from mechanical to electronic, from tubes to circuits, from electrical to digital. This marked the beginning of the information age.

Often the same message, but via new mediums. Business techniques were transformed, retail. automated teller machines, industrial robots, CGI, video games.

The Fourth…

The sequence of technological revolutions were not over and the emergence of a new universal technology revolution was evident.

Decentralized consensus, Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Robotics and more. The fourth industrial revolution is also referred to as the cognitive era.

The transition is pending, from development of underlying theoretical concepts to everyday life impact over a multitude of industries, verticals and products and services.

Conversational AI (Natural Language Understanding & Processing) forms a subset of AI.

AI is not a means in and of itself. It cannot be considered alone and in isolation. Intrinsically, belonging to itself by its very nature.

Like steam, internal combustion, electricity, digital…AI will become an invisible, matter-of-course, underlying enabling layer for technologies, services and mediums we as yet have to think up.

Where AI is leading us and what the near future holds is near impossible to predict. One point of consensus is that AI will be one of the most disruptive technologies impacting all industries, sectors, and our everyday existence.

This is only the end of the very beginning.

Google is at the forefront of AI investment and development. Over the past two decades the company has invested billions of dollars in AI R&D and the acquisition of startups in the industry. Most notably they acquired Deepmind, which Google bought for 500 million U.S. dollars in 2014. Using AI patents and published papers on AI topics as an indicator for innovation and “AI readiness” of companies Microsoft, IBM and Samsung consistently show up in the Top-5 of such rankings. ~ Source: Statista

Written by

NLP/NLU, Chatbots, Voice, Conversational UI/UX, CX Designer, Developer, Ubiquitous User Interfaces. www.cobusgreyling.me

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