It is said that we’re now in our fourth iteration of an industrial revolution.
The first industrial revolution happened in the late 1700s to the early 1800s. It brought about the transition from hand-making products to fabrication with the aid of machines. This era of modernization also made healthcare available to the masses and as a result, people lived longer than in previous centuries.
During the second industrial revolution in the mid-1800s, innovations involving electricity, plastics, oil, and steel became the noteworthy products of the century. Because of the commercial availability of electricity, mass production became the object of fascination. Ease of communication also became a highlight achievement for humanity (thanks to Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone). And engines made of hard steel were invented and used in both manufacturing and transportation.
In what is now recognized as the third industrial revolution, the giant leap from machines to digitization was made. Electronics and computers became dominant during this era. The revolution, which credits its start in 1969, pierced its way to almost all aspects of life.
Through computers, we can use nuclear energy, advanced forms of communications, the early internet, and biotechnology. The entire financial industry took a boost because of the innovations during this time. It was also the time when most things became irrationally mass-produced.
We now move further to what most consider the fourth industrial revolution or known as the ethical innovations and virtual space creativity phase. What have we learned from the past eras of great innovations? What are the key takeaways we should note to move forward?
1. Innovation is Still King; Convenience is its Muse
All inventions are made for man’s convenience. Innovation is the fundamental reason why people get together and create. Everything now is mostly created for mass production. However, the tools and machines used for mass production are also now mass-produced.
It is no wonder, for example, that machine cutters used for cutting up raw materials can now be accessed by small businesses. Big industries and small enterprises have equal access to the best mini backhoe trucks or the best laser cutters for their own business and use them to their own advantage.
2. Globalization is the Final Goal
Ultimately, the truest goal of industrialization is the unity and connection of everyone. Because of the industrial revolution, everyone in the world has a chance to connect with one another. Globalization is the association of every nation’s economies and cultures through constant trade.
It is a by-product of the trades between states and is defined by the exchange of ideas and services. Through globalization, nations can help others achieve their goals, ideally.
3. Optimization is the Surest Path You Should Take
Optimization of processes will always yield better products and services. Because of the population boom, more and more people will need products and services in a shorter time.
Optimizing manufacturing or service processes have netted mankind to produce at an optimal pace with even fewer resources used. Even natural processes in farming methods are optimized to get the most yield possible.
Optimization goes hand in hand with profit.
4. Necessity Brings Out the Best and the Worst in Humanity
Medical innovations in the last century were offshoots of the industrial revolution. The stethoscope, one of the most revolutionizing inventions in the medical world, was invented during the industrial revolution. Its invention has changed the field of medicine forever.
X-ray machines, as another example, was an invention brought about by the war. It was mainly used as a tool to find bullets inside soldiers. All these inventions, for better or for worse, were brought about by necessity.
5. Either Be the Best, or the Most Accessible
Another key takeaway is that neither quality nor accessibility can be the main facet of entrepreneurs’ final products. It is either one or the other. Quality will always be affected by the cost. The industrial revolution fueled an appetite for an abundance of produce.
However, quickly made products are cheap and almost always low in quality. People treat handmade goods as having better quality than massed produced items. Aside from a few exceptions, it’s almost always true.
The industrial revolution has brought both the best and worse things to humanity. The important thing is that we learn the important takeaways from them to move forward.
New technology and innovations will always shape our future, let’s hope the proponents of the new industrial revolution will bring about fairer trade, better healthcare, and a healthier environment. As opposed to the current degradation of the world’s resources.