There is a definition of a Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) as the age of digitalization. This is making smart cities, vastly improved factories and a lot of automation of tasks and services in our homes and at work. Industry 4.0 enables real-time data gathering, analysis, and decision- and prediction-making capabilities.
4IR technologies are artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced data analytics, robotic process automation, blockchain, robotics, cloud computing, virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing and drones.
Nextbigfuture would indicate that this 4IR is just an extension of the third industrial revolution of computers and robotic automation. The adoption levels of computers and robots are too low and the impact on factory and production levels has not reached the level of improvements reached by the Ford factories and oil machinery over the steam age.
A true fourth revolution could be the development and mass adoption hyper-advanced 3D printing, improved design and production that can provide a 10X improvement in production. It could also be true molecular nanotechnology and new high-density energy generation.
An industrial revolution should accelerate economic growth over the prior generation.
The first industrial revolution boosted the GDP in the USA by 12 times and in the UK by 6 times from 1700 to 1820. The per capita GDP went up about four times.
The second industrial revolution boosted the GDP in the US by $12.5 billion to $500 billion (40 times) and in the UK by 6 times from 1820 to 1913. The third computer revolution would not start til around 1960 or 1970. The UK economy triples from 1913 to 1973 and the US goes up almost 7 times from $517 billion to $3.5 trillion.
A lot of the growth was from population increase. However, industrialization and improved agriculture and medicine enabled a higher population.
The new technoologies can speed up progress on global goals to correcting poverty, hunger and other sustainable development goals (SDG).
Progress was already being made on those goals. A new analysis finds that the new technologies could help speed up deployment of solutions for about 70% of the cases.
The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world:GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 14: Life Below Water
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal
The world is producing fifteen times more oil and steel versus 1940. Production levels are several hundreds times more than in 1850-1880.
The 4IR is not ten times more productive than the late 20th-century third industrial revolution capabilities. Nextbigfuture would define the 4IR as generation 3B capabilities. the late 20th-century would have generation 3A capabilities. There was some adoption of industrial robotics but there is still only one robot per 20 human workers.
There are very few cities that are remotely “smart” enabled.
Brian Wang is a prolific business-oriented writer of emerging and disruptive technologies. He is known for insightful articles that combine business and technical analysis that catches the attention of the general public and is also useful for those in the industries. He is the sole author and writer of, the top online science blog. He is also involved in angel investing and raising funds for breakthrough technology startup companies.
He gave the recent keynote presentation at Monte Jade event with a talk entitled the Future for You.  He gave an annual update on molecular nanotechnology at Singularity University on nanotechnology, gave a TEDX talk on energy, and advises USC ASTE 527 (advanced space projects program). He has been interviewed for radio, professional organizations. podcasts and corporate events. He was recently interviewed by the radio program Steel on Steel on satellites and high altitude balloons that will track all movement in many parts of the USA.
He fundraises for various high impact technology companies and has worked in computer technology, insurance, healthcare and with corporate finance.
He has substantial familiarity with a broad range of breakthrough technologies like age reversal and antiaging, quantum computers, artificial intelligence, ocean tech,  agtech, nuclear fission, advanced nuclear fission, space propulsion, satellites, imaging, molecular nanotechnology, biotechnology, medicine, blockchain, crypto and many other areas.