The world is on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution, and it could change the way we use everything from cars to shoes.
The first three industrial revolutions brought us mechanisation, mass production and automation. Now, more than half a century after the first robots worked on production lines, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are shaking things up again.
“Industry 4.0” uses technologies such as the internet of things to make manufacturing “smarter” – allowing companies to revolutionise the way they make and ship goods. “Manufacturing is becoming less about muscle and more about brains,” says Greg Kinsey, vice president of Hitachi Insight Group.
“It becomes less place-specific. You start to look at 3D printing. The shoe industry is contemplating: do we actually need to produce all these shoes in lots of variations in southeast Asia?”