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What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The fourth industrial revolution will be defined by three characteristics. First, it will exploit the exponentially expanding power of information and computation to transform industry itself.

Second, it will be characterized by connectivity on a global scale. Put simply, it will be built on open standards and interoperability, with the information or knowledge at its centre.

Third, it will be based on the concept of manufacturing in the information domain.

The fourth industrial revolution will be, in the purest technical sense, indistinguishable from the third. Technological change is quite simply a reflection of the pace of change in human history.

The 3rd industrial revolution — the processing of data and information through automation — was the first industrial revolution for more than a century and a half. Before the processing of information became possible, the progress of industry involved the processing of materials—for example, agriculture. The spinning jenny, for example, extracted the power of water and used it in the production of a final product.

The first industrial revolution began in medieval times, when mechanized devices were first applied to manufacturing. The application of this technology required the invention of, for example, the water wheel. This new power source was then used to power machinery to perform repetitive tasks, creating the first factories. The Industrial Revolution began in England, but by the end of the 19th century was quite widespread.

After the first industrial revolution, humans searched for an explanation for the productivity increase, which was caused by the revolution in factories. Karl Marx argued that a new class emerged as a result of the emergence of the factory system, and proposed that the principal players of the factory system would be the capitalists and laborers. He viewed the factory system as a tool for labor exploitation, but the factories were actually the source of the greatest increase in labor productivity.

During the second industrial revolution, the growth of the factory system destroyed a lot of productive workers and machines. As a response, a new methodology was put forward, the assembly line, which dramatically changed the nature of the industrial revolution by replacing individual workers with large numbers of workers instead. This increased the efficiency of the process and resulted in a dramatic increase in industrial productivity as well as a rapid increase in the standard of living.

The second industrial revolution was in many ways similar to the first, but at the same time, it was different. It was a further step on the road to mechanization and rationalization. However, because it was not a perfect revolution, it proved less disruptive on the social life of humans, and contributed to making a better quality of life for the vast majority of workers. This made the second industrial revolution more acceptable.

The third industrial revolution is in many ways similar to the second, but again marks a significant departure from the trend of the previous two industrial revolutions. The third industrial revolution will be a process that will surely lead to a fourth industrial revolution.

The third industrial revolution focuses on automation. It is characterized by increasing the speed of automation and, at the same time, the size and complexity of the objects that can be automated. In other words, industry reaches a state of automation where we are able to precisely predict how the physical process will behave. This is a necessary condition to make an automated decision on what to produce and where to produce it. This is a conceptual revolution.

In other words, this is an industrial revolution that is based on the idea of perfecting the process of materials fabrication, which in turn makes production entirely automatic, intelligent, and based on exact simulations. This process has been put forward by the proponents of a high-tech economy, i.e., the idea that the human machine of the future will be working alongside a computing algorithm or computer system.

This ideal is similar to the idea of the assembly line in the second industrial revolution, and the notion of the mechanization of factories in the first industrial revolution. However, the difference this time is that now these two industrial revolutions are combined to a greater extent than in the past. Therefore, the next industrial revolution is also based on the breakthrough of the boundary between humans and machines, while at the same time automating itself.

For example, a robot in this third industrial revolution needs to have adequate artificial intelligence (AI), which is made through an increasing number of algorithms that are quite complex. This allows the robot to make decisions on where to move to and what to do—all on its own.

The confluence of AI and robotics is necessary for the third industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution was the mechanization of the factory system, which required the integration of people into the mass production process, making it possible to quickly push new productions out the door. The second industrial revolution was the optimization of the assembly line. The current revolution is bringing together the third and fourth industrial revolution:

  • the integration of the assembly line and the computer, making the use of computer-integrated design automation (CIDA) possible, where robots and computers are co-workers in the design of products to increase productivity
  • the integration of the computer-aided engineering (CAE) capability on top of the information technology (IT) capabilities of the manufacturing industry, creating the basis for the next industrial revolution

It is possible that the third industrial revolution is leading directly to the fourth industrial revolution. It is also possible that there are two different revolutions, with the third revolution to be the easier transition to the fourth revolution.

  • The fourth industrial revolution will be automated because it will be based on a more sophisticated number of algorithm applications and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI).
  • AI will be applied to the process of pattern recognition, data analytics for decision making to make it possible for a single robot to recognize an entire process of the manufacturing sector. It will also understand the different aspects, such as the creation of the product and its packaging.
  • AI will also be applied to the fundamental issues of design, which were previously carried out by the human machine. In other words, AI will be applied to search algorithms, checking algorithms, and the creation of the part design.
  • AI will be applied to decision making regarding the movement of the robot, scheduling, and automating the decision making.
  • We will see AI being applied to the activities of the robot: movement, image recognition, simulation, decision making, and communication; AI will be applied to the process of the robot itself.
  • We will see AI applied to the management of the robot and the decision making on material development tasks.

Another significant characteristic of this next industrial revolution is that AI will transform the industrial sector itself, yet again.

AI could transform AD (advanced manufacturing), CAD (computer-aided design), CADA (computer-aided design and analysis), CAE (computer-aided engineering), and CMB (computer-aided manufacturing), which are the results of the synthesis of the first three industrial revolution techniques. In other words, AI will transform the human machine into a machine-like measurement system.

The result will be “industry 4.0.”

The game changer is that AI will reach the stage where it can replace most of the workers in the manufacturing process. Until now, the manufacturing sector has been able to develop and implement solutions based on AI through the use of machine learning, machine perception, machine vision, tactile feedback, speech recognition, and various other AI-based communication systems.

This is an industrial revolution that aims to completely automate the human machine and to take humans out of the manufacturing process, replacing them with robots.

The industrial revolution is evolving from an automation based on humans to an automation based on the use of humans. The manufacturing industry in this third revolution will be more sophisticated than the manufacturing sector was in the last three industrial revolutions.

The fourth industrial revolution will happen when the human machine becomes a technical image, which will make it possible to avoid the problem of human fatigue and to fully share the responsibilities of the human machine with the AI. This transformation will also reduce the risk of injury.

Examples of Industry 4.0

  • AI-based optimization
  • Use of AI in the automation of perception and the model of the work process
  • AI for the optimization of material (design) development, creating a large volume of parts, and optimizing procedures
  • AI for the planning of materials adjustment
  • AI for the preparation of the proposed requirements and the estimation of the time required for manufacture
  • AI for the choice of the correct material and the procurement of the parts
  • AI for the simulation of the production process
  • AI-based control of the robot, both from a technical and an algorithmic perspective
  • Hardware and software for the movement of the robot
  • Hardware and software for the generation of the physical elements and the control of the movement of the robot
  • Development and application of procedure
  • AI for the visualization of the process by monitoring sensors, increasing information gathering
  • Use of AI for the reduction of the time required for checking the quality of a finished product
  • System for fault detection
  • AI for the control of machines and the automated planning for the production processes
  • AI for the characterization of flaws and quality issues
  • AI for the control and improvement of the process of continuous operation
  • AI for the management of the schedule of the manufacturing process and the choice of the best manufacturing process
  • Use of AI for the automatic calibration of the production process and the verification of the calibration
  • Software for the management and control over production

Teams with the necessary experience and human knowledge can develop these processes.

AI will be applied to the creation of individual parts and the refinement of unit parts. If the regulator has two task at the same time, it can start with one task and it uses two senses for each task for example, for work and for sight. If it has two tasks at the same time that are not related, it uses two separate algorithms for each task.

AI will eliminate the human machine from the complexity of the work process, and it will reduce the number of tasks that the human machine performs, which will liberate the human machine and open the possibility of the creation of a team involving the human machine and AI.

According to Gartner, teams composed of the human machine and AI will be more efficient than teams composed of humans. AI will also become a specialist in areas that the human machine is not very good in. The main difficulties in the field of AI are to find the AI specialists and to make the knowledge transfer from the human machine to the AI.

AI will eliminate the need to teach the algorithms to the human machine and will allow the human machine to use them for the work that it does. One AI that will be able to complete a task will be capable of being incorporated by the other AI in the team.

Basic characteristics of the latest industrial revolution:

— Application of algorithm applications.

— Application of integrated algorithms.

— Integration of quality assurance.

— Use of algorithms that are more advanced than those previously used.

— Elimination of the human machine from certain procedures.

— AI will be used to solve the problems of heavy workload.

— The system will move away from the human machine and the human machine will identify and increase performance.

— The system will use the knowledge of the human machine and will increase its ability to understand.

— AI will identify possible faults in the manufacture of the product and the defects related to the manufacturing process.

— AI will be used to automate the resolution of defects.

A few decades ago, companies were competing based on the structure of the workforce, cost control, product quality, and the management of the production process. Decisions were made in the absence of the information that was needed. Then the information revolution happened and development of automation was ensured by the use of the Internet. Now we are going to see the emergence of the AI revolution.

Industry 4.0: What is it?

If you want to go forward, you have to go back to the manufacturing sector.

It is necessary to look at the economy as a system, and the dominant component of the economy is the manufacturing sector.

If the AI revolution occurs as a result of the large-scale use of AI in the manufacturing sector, the economic benefit to the society will be enormous, because it will provide the following:

— It will raise productivity.

— It will reduce the cost of the labor force.

— It will increase the level of education.

— It will increase the level of living for the working class.

— It will reduce the ecological footprint that is caused by the production of the industrial sector.

— It will create an environment where people are satisfied who work in the industry.

— It will reduce the risk of physical injury.

— It will increase quality and safety.

— It will reduce the risks of serious injury.

— It will provide employment for the people in all sectors.

— It will reduce the amount of unemployment.

— It will reduce the number of people involved in serious crime.

— It will create opportunities for refugees and migrants.

— It will enable us to work with AI in the AI revolution around the clock.

— It will enable us to work more efficiently.

— It will allow us to be productive in our time and in our spare time.

— It will allow us to avoid fatigue.

— It will allow us to travel 500 times around the world in a single day.

— It will allow us to live more securely.

— It will allow us to be more clever.

Industry 4.0 means that the human machine will replace machines as an entity.

It is an industrial revolution that aims to fully automate the manufacturing process and to take humans out of the manufacturing process.

AI-based automation of production processes enables the use of AI for improving manufacturing.

The AI revolution means that the generations of machines will be integrated and that all the machines will be operating with those humans that are online and that AI will be integrated in all the machines.

The application of AI in the manufacturing sector means the following:

— The use paid software will be ubiquitous, distributed through the Internet, and completely free.

— Every machine in the manufacturing sector will have a robot that will focus on classification of the products.

— The use of algorithms for the management of the production of the products based on the data that are currently containing on the product.

— The transparent integration of production in the Internet.

— The AI robotics will be the basis for the built-in intelligence in the robots.

— The use of AI to the manufacturing sector to achieve the following:

— To reduce the labor force.

— To reduce the cost of the labor force.

— To raise the level of education.

— To improve quality.

— To ensure safety.

— To increase productivity.

— To reduce the ecological footprint caused by the manufacturing sector.

— To reduce the cost of the living for the working class.

— To reduce the ecological impact of the manufacturing sector.

— To promote the use of algorithms that are more advanced than those previously used.

— To reduce the training time for people.

— To increase the knowledge of algorithms.

— To reduce the need to teach algorithms to the human machine.

— To ensure the ability of algorithm capacities to apply the methods.

— To make the process secure.

— To make the process efficient.

— To make the process reliable.

— To make the process subserviant.

The AI robots will be integrated in the manufacturing sector in all the machines, and it will allow the companies to provide a better service to the customers.

What are the main challenges?

Technology – Industrial automation.

Timing – Hardware integration, business integrations, labor reductions, safety, capacity, costs, performance.

Operation – From the process to the system integration.

Service – Quality, performance, value.

AI-based automation of manufacturing processes means that all the processes in the manufacturing sector will be totally automated and the humans will not be involved.

“The machine will become the creator of value.”

The goal of the AI-based automation of the manufacturing processes is to create value for the customers.

The main challenges in the field of AI are:

• Risk minimization – Risk of failure.

• Risk of error – The risk of making mistakes.

• Risk of cyber-attacks.

• Risk of different forms of malicious behavior.

• The risk associated with the theft of data.

• Risk of cyber-attacks.

• The risk associated with the theft of data.

• The risk of not being able to make a market.

The key message

Industry 4.0: Automate the entire manufacturing process

AI-based automation of the manufacturing processes means that the human machine will become the receiver of data that is collected about the products and will make the decisions within the machine.

What will this mean?

The ideal model for the application of this technology will be 100 percent, completely automated and removed from the human machine. That is what we call Industry 4.0. The process automation means that the machine will be the sole owner of the information.

What does it mean to be removed from the human machine?

What does it mean to be removed from the human machine? It means that the human machine will no longer be required to operate the equipment.

This will give us the advantages that will be listed in the Industrial AI section.

Work will be executed only in the information field, giving us a much higher level of creativity. Much higher level of creativity. The human machine will be the creator of data and the decisions will be based on the data provided by the machine.

The main role of the human machine will be the use of data and instructions, and not to make the decisions.

The main advantages in the application of AI in this field are:

  1. The cost of the labor force will be lowered.
  2. The quality of the product will be raised.
  3. The level of education will be raised.
  4. The level of living for the working class will be increased.
  5. The ecological footprint will be decreased.
  6. The speed of the process will be increased.
  7. The security of the data will be increased.
  8. The reliability of the process will be increased.
  9. The security of the process will be guaranteed.
  10. The process will be at a constant pace.
  11. The processes will be much more transparent.
  12. The operations will be free.
  13. The rate of productivity will be increased.
  14. The speed of execution will be increased.
  15. The quality of the products will be improved.
  16. The education of the people will increase.
  17. The quality of the products made by the use of the AI will be improved.

The main challenge

To get the support from the private sector to create value for the customers requires massive investment.

The main task

To provide the easy way to the customers to access the AI in the industrial sector.

The main message

Industry 4.0 is the revolution that will provide the customers with better quality products and higher performances.

AI is an automation revolution destined to take humans out of the manufacturing process.

Photo by Raj Rana on Unsplash

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