Reaching the fourth Industrial Revolution. What next?

Indústria 4.0

The Worl Economic Forum took place in January in Davos, Switzerland. The conference, which gathers the main political and economic world leaders every year, had the fourth Industrial Revolution on its agenda.  In a nutshell, it summarizes the great advances in fields such as the Internet of Things (IoT), nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and big data. The debate centered mostly on the consequences that this revolution will bring in short and long terms. The big question was: loss of jobs.

A study done by the organizer of the event and presented at the time shows that the so-called “4.0 industry”  will be responsible for the loss of approximately 5 million jobs over the next five years and will motivate the imbalance of the business-oriented models currently known. The harbinger is apocalyptic, but remember that this discussion came up in the third Industrial Revolution as well. What happened, however, is contrary to the alarmist predictions. The period brought welfare to the society, even (re) inventing works and roles in the market.

What can you expect from this revolution? When drawing a parallel with the third Industrial Revolution, known by the use of advanced technologies in production systems, it is easy to understand that the current revolution is a direct consequence of the previous. According to Klaus Schwab, founder of the Davos World Economic Forum, the current revolution deepens some elements. However, now, there is no differentiation between machines and human beings. Therefore, without being the result of an immediate rupture, the 4.0 industry has, as the keyword, the hyperconnectivity.

It is from the extinction of this role differentiation that a great loss in job offers is estimated, in addition to changes that would significantly impact the ways we produce and consume goods and services. But, as stated previously, this assumption provides the worst-case scenario. Establishing a parallel with the previous revolution, the advances and adequacies enabled new and better ways of working, offering means to raise income in many aspects (social and personal).

One more point for productivity is therefore added. Thanks to the machines generated in the previous revolution (washing machines, dishwashers, among others), people have had the chance to allow more time for other activities, adding more quality to their lives.

At first sight, the weight of the word revolution, which implies sudden changes to certain structures, may scare. Even more under the prospect of heavy losses in the labour market. But it is technology that generates new challenges, economic growth and new jobs in areas that we could not even think of. Not to mention that there is no negative side: these new systems could diminish the weekly hours worked, which, actually, is not a problem, as already seen in Scandinavian countries. The discussion on the subject is more than necessary, once there’s no turning back. Although in the beginning, the 4,0 Industry promises great accomplishments.


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