The story of our economy’s evolution over the last few centuries isn’t always steady. Occasionally, there are innovations that cause disruptions so sizable that they’re considered “revolutions.” First, there was the steam engine. Then, electricity. Third, was the emergence of computers.
Now, we’ve arrived at what some are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution and it’s focused primarily on automation. This idea isn’t exactly new. The term was previously coined and detailed in Klaus Schwab’s 2016 book, but recent discussion has brought the idea into the news cycle.
A few things, however, are clear: the revolution is here, it affects people all across the U.S., and can help empower smarter business decisions. Let’s explore this concept to understand how it will impact you, both personally and professionally, in the near future.
What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
Again, the first wave of the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century with early forms of mechanization, like steam-powered factories and trains.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we witnessed the incredible power of electricity, allowing for the mass production of materials and services during the Second Revolution. The Third Industrial Revolution hit not too long after in the 1990s, with electronics and the internet bringing us into the age of digitization.
Since 2016, there’s been chatter of a Fourth Industrial Revolution sweeping in. This is a time of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, robotics and other innovations. These technologies are “rapidly changing the way humans create, exchange, and distribute value,” according to Britannica.
What Does It All Mean for Your Business?
More and more companies are incorporating AI-based technological solutions as they work to scale their businesses and expand their business goals.
This revolution doesn’t have to replace human interactions and threaten job security, though. Instead, this technology can be used in tandem with employees to create better customer experiences and allow for employees to avoid rote, time-consuming tasks, focusing rather on the company’s higher-level needs.
This shift to AI solutions provides an opportunity to reassess the human element of your business and get your team working hand-in-hand with technology to foster better customer experiences.
Remember, even the best technology needs smart, savvy people to manage it. Shifting your organization to a “tech-as-support” mindset rather than a “tech-as-replacement” mentality could make the Fourth Industrial Revolution work in your favor.
Customers everywhere are also embracing technology to enhance their user experience — and your business should too. Artificial intelligence and other technological advancements can create cost savings, faster processes and offer your customers real-time support.
Don’t Lose the Human Element
If you’re looking for ways to incorporate technology into your business, download our helpful guide on Live Chat, Chatbots, and Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) to understand the clear difference between each and how technology can complement your staff’s hard work.