This entry originally appeared on March 18th, 2022 using the mirror.xyz platform and has been permanently stored onchain and signed via ArWeave.

The 4th Industrial Revolution - What is it?

The term “Fourth Industrial Revolution” was coined by Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

Established in 1971 as a non-profit in Geneva, their mission, in part is to:

Strive in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does…..

Their mission goes on to state:

Our activities are shaped by a unique institutional culture founded on the stakeholder theory, which asserts that an organization is accountable to all parts of society. The institution carefully blends and balances the best of many kinds of organizations, from both the public and private sectors, international organizations and academic institutions.

Lofty, accountable, and transparent. The WEF doesn’t need a statement of culture, they embody their culture and are defined by their actions. Klaus Schwab’s book will take you on that journey.

So what exactly is 4IR…

The wiki page defines 4IR, in essence, as the trend towards automation and data exchange in manufacturing, healthcare, and human technologies; which include cyber-physical systems, IoT, Industrial IoT, cloud, cognitive computing, and artificial intelligence. There are 4 key themes that help summarize Industry 4.0:

  • Interconnection - the ability of machines, devices, sensors, and people to connect and communicate with each other via the IoT, or IoP.
  • Information transparency - the transparency afforded by 4IR technology provides operators with comprehensive information to make decisions. Inter-connectivity allows operators to collect immense amounts of data and information from all points in the process, identity key areas that can benefit from improvement to increase functionality.
  • Technical assistance - the technology facility of systems to assist humans in decision making and problem-solving, and the ability to help humans with difficult or unsafe tasks.
  • Decentralized decisions - the ability of cyber-physical systems to make decisions on their own and to perform their tasks as autonomously as possible. Only in the case of exceptions, interference, or conflicting goals, are the tasks delegated to a higher level.

Many say that 4IR marks the beginning of the Imagination Age.

There are too many components, drivers, and trends to break down for the purposes of this article. 50+ years of thinking has us on the cusp of an accelerated transition to the knowledge economy. People assist machines, and machines assist people. Certain tasks are no longer meant to be handled by the human mind.

Implementing this technology brings many amazing benefits, but it also brings serious challenges to the economic, social, and political realms.

High cost, organizational change (DAO), and excessive investment will disrupt markets and even whole economies. Privacy, distrust, job loss due to automation, and DEI inequities via AI implementation are all social concerns. Decentralization, lack of regulation, and unclear legal issues will create political obstacles. But in the end, WAGMI. (We Are Gonna Make It)

Incredible advances - from cryptocurrencies to AI - are transforming society in unprecedented ways. Web3 is full of Social DAO’s that are supported with new tools like multi-sig wallets and consensus mechanisms. New digital identity tools are protecting ideas and intellectual property by hashing them onto distributed ledgers. Smart contracts are helping to reduce friction in the form of governance and fees through financial transactions and ownership transfers. The marketplace is coming alive in ways we can only imagine.

Millions of new businesses have been minted post-covid. Many (like Orion) pivoted into the new realm of distributed, automated work. We support and challenge those new organizations to do this:

  • Start with a purpose
  • Question traditional models
  • Ensure the business is a force for good
  • Embody your virtues
  • People first, then platform, followed by place
  • Use data to make decisions
  • Hire better
  • Build relationships, let the computers do the work
  • Think like a trustee, not like a chairman

This is the future. Let’s get started.

photo cred - jens lelie / via upsplash