In our insight this month Katerina Kosmopoulou discusses the transformation of industrial production driven by the advances in digital technology. The catchword for this is the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. We are indeed only just at the beginning of this transformation, which will have significant impacts on the global economy and on the companies we invest in. Our insight outlines the issues, risks and opportunities we see.
“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another… when compared with previous industrial revolutions, this one is evolving at an exponential rather than linear pace.… it is disturbing almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management and governance”.
Klaus Schwab, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, 2016
The British economic historian Arnold Toynbee first coined the term industrial revolution to mark a period that began in Britain in the late 18th century with the development of the steam engine and the mechanisation of textile production. Progressively, tasks previously done by hand by hundreds of weavers in cottages dispersed across the land were now carried out instead using power looms under the single roof of a cotton mill. This was the birth of the modern factory and the beginning of the first industrial revolution.