4th Industrial Revolution

The 4th Industrial Revolution Is Taking the World by Storm. Here’s How It’s Impacting Organizations.

In November 2021, DISA — Defence Information Systems Agency— released a strategic planning document that plans to employ AI services to combat cyberthreats. According to DISA officials, cyberthreats have never been higher, and the greatly commercialized nature of the dark web calls for strict cybersecurity measures.

The officials explained that they want to be able “to catalog and understand all of the data sources that we have – and then be able to apply AI and machine learning to actually help our cyber defenders be able to, in more real-time, have visibility of the attacks as they’re actually occurring on the network.” 

The agency currently handles extremely large volumes of data. They oversee about 300 billion IP addresses, thereby making it virtually impossible for their analysts to manually monitor and control all these endpoints.

This is just one of the many examples of how organizations and government agencies are adopting and assimilating advanced technology to fight emerging threats, showcasing the arrival of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Here, we will discuss what it is and the possible implications it can have on organizations. 

What is the 4th Industrial Revolution? 

The 1st Industrial Revolution mechanized production using water and steam power. The 2nd one used electric power to make mass production possible. In the 3rd Industrial Revolution, the world witnessed the spread of electronics, information technology, and automation. The discovery of the internet and its incorporation into organizations was a giant step forward that helped achieve better operational standards, stronger interconnectivity, and greater efficiency. 

Now, a new revolution is brewing – one that integrates cyber-physical systems to make them self-sufficient and greatly enhance their operational efficiency. This, in essence, is the 4th Industrial Revolution. 

Here, the main aim is the convergence of OT and IT so that they may execute customized, optimized, and accurate functions to consumers while being able to adapt to new changes and requirements over time. The 4th Industrial Revolution is characterized by advanced technologies like IoT (internet of things), IoS (internet of systems), AI (artificial intelligence), big data analytics, cloud computing, augmented and virtual reality, 3D and 4D printing, etc.

Most of these technologies have been adapted into several sectors – healthcare, manufacturing and processing, critical infrastructure, to name a few – to be used in various services. For example, smart grids are used to monitor and control critical infrastructure like water plants. Hospitals use IoT technology along with their operational machines to assess and diagnose patients. 

This industrial revolution will exponentially and radically change the way the digital world operates. 

What are the possible implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution for organizations?

The 3rd Industrial Revolution provided the necessary base technology that paved the way for the 4th Industrial Revolution. Here, integration is key – it is the melding of physical, digital, and biological worlds. For organizations, the impact is multi-fold:  

  1. With the increase in automation and digitalization, the need for manual labor greatly decreases. As such, there will be a steep decline in job availability. Research shows that by 2022, 50% of organizations will have a decreased number of employees due to automation. Additionally, around 800 million jobs will be replaced by robots. However, these advanced technologies may also bring new job opportunities in different sectors that require specific skill sets. 
  1. While the incorporation of AI and other intelligence technologies brings a slew of benefits, these technologies will be increasingly regulated to operate within moral and ethical parameters. Governments will lay down strong legislations and rules for organizations to follow international compliance laws. 
  1. With growing advancements in technology, cyberthreats and cyberattacks grow in parallel. Threat actors are constantly scanning for vulnerabilities to gain an entry point into organizational systems. Moreover, the increased dependency on automation and digitalization makes organizations a lucrative target for cyberattacks. As such, all integrated systems and devices must be regularly patched or updated to the latest requirements to reduce cybersecurity risks. 
  1. Investing in the latest and most advanced technology can be quite expensive, and may be achieved by mostly large-scale organizations. This is quite cumbersome for many smaller-scale organizations. So, for now, adapting these digital advancements is only possible for those in a higher wage gap or pay gap.  
  1. With the automation of almost all basic organizational processes, all low-level skill jobs are already being fulfilled. As such, companies look to hire employees with high-level skill sets that can efficiently work and manage these automated systems and devices. 
  1. Organizations usually contain a lot of confidential, sensitive, and personal data which is stored in big data systems. Regulations will continue to evolve to protect this sensitive data and hold organizations liable in the event of a security breach.