Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Scry AI -  Dr. Alok Aggarwal
Dr. Alok Aggarwal

Eight Vital Characteristics of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

In the late 1890s, Thomas Edison had been working on developing a nickel-iron battery when his friend, Walter Mallory, visited his laboratory and asked, “Isn’t it a shame that with the tremendous amount of work you have done, you haven’t been able to get any results?” To this Edison quipped, ‘Results! Why, man, I have gotten lots of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.”
Fourth Industrial Revolution Characteristics
Given that Benjamin Franklin and others discovered electricity in the 1750s and Michael Faraday showed how to produce it in the 1830s, it still took innovators several decades to invent new gadgets for humans to use electricity.
Thomas Edison Innovations

Indeed, such innovations and their commercialization would not have been possible without their relentless pursuit to innovate, and as discussed throughout this book, this feature constitutes one of the hallmarks of all scientific and industrial revolutions.

During the last three hundred years, the world has witnessed three industrial revolutions. As discussed in this chapter, all these revolutions had eight characteristics in common. In 2016, Klaus Schwab mentioned that we are amidst the fourth revolution.

Throughout, this book provides ample evidence that since 2011, these eight characteristics have been exhibiting themselves, thereby implying that the fourth revolution began in 2011 and is continuing vigorously. Unsurprisingly, these characteristics will manifest even more during the next few decades thereby confirming Mark Twain’s quote, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes”.
Industrial Revolution Trains

The first chapter of the book will be organized as follows

Section 1.1 of the book will briefly discuss key inventions of the current industrial revolution, which will be discussed later in detail. Since all industrial revolutions are based on scientific discoveries, it is important to understand the structure of scientific revolutions, which will be discussed in section 1.2. Sections 1.3 to 1.8 of the book will discuss eight shared characteristics of previous industrial revolutions, and how they are exhibiting themselves in the current one. The first three characteristics will be discussed in section 1.3. Two of these were vital for each industrial revolution because one led to the creation of a new infrastructure whereas another began to be used pervasively. Section 1.4 of the book will contend that it usually takes a substantial amount of time for scientific innovations to percolate through human society.

Industrial Revolution Characteristics

However, since revolutions usually create euphoria and hype, section 1.5 of the book will discuss the boom-and-bust cycles that often occur during the process. Section 1.6 will argue that once these key inventions seep into society, their effects are significantly more than anticipated earlier. Section 1.7 of the book will examine how these revolutions upended the status quo and created new jobs while destroying older ones, thereby impacting society immensely. The role played by various governments in these revolutions is the eighth characteristic and will be discussed in section 1.8 of the book. Finally, section 1.9 will conclude by depicting the interplay between scientific and industrial revolutions and their implications for the current industrial revolution.

The book titled “The Fourth Industrial Revolution and 100 Years of AI (1950-2050)” will be published in September 2023.

Author Picture

Blog Written by

Dr. Alok Aggarwal

CEO, Chief Data Scientist at Scry AI
Author of the book The Fourth Industrial Revolution
and 100 Years of AI (1950-2050)