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A new industrial revolution?

A new industrial revolution?

The rapid technological progress of recent years is transforming our daily life and the way we work in almost all sectors of the economy. Personal computers, smartphones and other devices via the internet connection allow us to communicate, make purchases, work and inform ourselves in real time.

If you think of a smartphone, which we use everyday and have in our pockets, it has a much higher computing power than a supercomputer from the 1960s, weighs 100,000 times less and costs 8,000 times less.

Alongside these evident and daily effects, there are other transformations taking place whose consequences we can barely glimpse: biotechnologies, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence.

We are facing a real rapid change, which could have profound consequences on economic life, so much so that we are talking about a fourth industrial revolution: the digital one.

The first industrial revolution, at the beginning of the 19th century, led to large factories and rail transport.

The second industrial revolution, at the end of that century, over the years has developed new industries and transformed the way of living and producing, thanks to electricity.

The third revolution, a century later, introduced on a large scale the new communication and information technologies, symbolized by the computer, which pushed the automation of production to new heights and favored the division of labor on a planetary scale.

The fourth revolution, in progress, represented by the internet and artificial intelligence, which is creating a new world made up of binary codes, which transfer knowledge, interact with each other, provide services and create objects.

There are 3 major factors that above all differentiate today’s technological progress from the past:

1) hyper connectivity, given by the diffusion of networks;

2) the development of artificial intelligence and in particular of machine learning (machine learning), of programs that allow machines to learn from experience and to write the codes to be used;

3) the increase in data, which changes the way we analyze phenomena, produce objects, offer services, so much so that the data is compared to a “new oil or gold”.

A digital revolution: a transition to new jobs as in the past?

The current wave of technological innovations stands out from those of the past not only for speed, but also for greater areas of application: within a few years the internet has reached billions of people as well as the spread of smartphones and tablets, developed for just a decade. Above all, the applications of new technologies include tasks that are superior to any human intelligence.

Looking ahead, you can see that the demand for work (and wages) will drop for replaceable jobs, and increase for others, but it is difficult to predict which tasks will complement the machines and which ones will only be performed by them.