The first Industrial Revolution was driven by water and steam power mechanised production in England’s “dark Satanic mills.”
For the second, electricity powered the era of mass production, such as Henry Ford’s Model-T assembly line. Electronics and information technology leading to greater customisation and automation drove the third. Think of clean rooms and robots building robots.
Now we are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterised by the use of digitisation, artificial intelligence and biotech, as well as new kinds of collaboration. This latest chapter of the centuries-old effort to make things better is linking the physical, digital and biological worlds more tightly.