The Good, the Bad, and the Inevitable About Industrial Revolution

The Good, the Bad, and the Inevitable About Industrial Revolution

Will Industry 4.0 make it to Industry 6.0 one day?

Industry 4.0 continues to be a sizzling hot trend. An oft-used synonym for the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0 has already infiltrated a large segment of the consumer world, making a big impact on how we live, work, and receive services. In the world of industry, however, IoT has yet to provide opportunities for adding value to the industrial revolution.

Industry 4.0 is a pervasive model, covering cyber-physical systems, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. It aims to lower costs and optimize processes. Moreover, production workers (that is, people) are expected to perform their functions like clockwork to fit into the concept. Will Industry 5.0 or Industry 6.0 replace human production workers? Will Industry 5.0 or Industry 6.0 carry out fears humanity has for machines? Let’s give that possible future some consideration.

The industrial revolution today

The current issues surrounding manufacturing are being addressed with technological development. The fourth industrial revolution — or Industry 4.0 — is one of the more rational and extensive applications. Industry 4.0 aims to bind machinery, intelligent systems, smart devices, and manufacturers to create smart networks. From materials supply to production to retail shelves, these smart networks will control each other along the value chain. 

Industrial revolutions from a historical perspective


Source: Simio – Industry 4.0 

As with the majority of hotly debated themes, the Industry 4.0 comes with speculations. Some think it will lead to scientific miracles, while others consider it to be the process of placing a human at the top of the army of robots. Meanwhile, those with pessimistic mindset were frightened of machines taking over will lead to widespread unemployment. 

Neither hypothesis hits the spot. Industry 4.0 has allowed manufacturers to upgrade existing machinery with connected, smart production equipment and with real-time monitoring and forecasting techniques. Manufacturers continue to invest in IoT devices to improve quality, accuracy, and safety while lowering costs.

BDO maintains that 99% of mid-market manufacturing executives are familiar with Industry 4.0, yet only 5% are currently implementing, or have implemented, an Industry 4.0 strategy. 

Since only humans can make machines more intelligent, an effective Industry 4.0 will require collaboration between humans and machines — which leads us to the next stage: Industry 5.0. 

Industry 5.0 – AI for humanity

Production workers can rest assured, automation won’t replace them. At least for now. The most obvious outcome Industry 5.0 offers is about collaboration between workers and automation, not the replacement of workers.  It’s about applying technologies to accelerate human performance, which will free up the worker to spend more time on high-value tasks such as strategic planning.

Businesses will value creativity, innovation, and insight (the logical components) over process and routine (the mechanical components). Specialists with critical thinking skills will be in demand.

The main idea of this wave of industrial evolution is applying technologies not to substitute the humans, but to accelerate their performance. In this case, people will be able to spend more time on high-value tasks like strategic planning. Civilization will value creativity, innovation and insight, that is a logical component, over process and routine, that is the mechanical component. Only specialists with critical and logical thinking will be in demand.

But with the tremendous technological upgrowth, there is still risk merging these boundaries between logical and mechanical components. All because the artificial intelligence will be really smart. In addition to the mechanical one, it’s always eager to take on the human logical part acting under the cloak of better productivity and quality.

Future waves of the industrial revolution

Source: Brad Zylman — Brad Zylman — Industry 4.0 and Beyond to 6.0

To achieve collaboration in the workspace, Industry 5.0 is using cobots — collaborative robots. Working in tandem with humans, cobots can be equipped with connective sensor technology (such as AI, lidar/radar, and GPS) to perform advanced but repetitive tasks, leaving the complex, delicate tasks to the human workers. And don’t forget safety. Working in the same workspace with humans, cobots сan be literally a right hand while ensuring process safety.

/   The collaborative robot market is estimated to be $12,303 million by 2025, with a CAGR of 50.31% between 2017 and 2025.   /

MarketsandMarkets, Collaborative Robot Market by Payload Capacity, Industry, Application and Geography – Global Forecast to 2025

Featured companies developing cobots:

  • Universal Robots. A Danish company with a high reputation and extensive experience that produces and sells industrial automation robots.
  • SIASUN Robot & Automation. One of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial cobots and automation tools, SIASUN is one of the top 10 industrial robotics companies in China.
  • Rethink Robotics. A US startup, now part of the HAHN group, Rethink is among the pioneers in collaborative industrial robotics. The company’s industrial cobot, Baxter, is now followed by Sawyer, a collaborative robot of the next generation.

Who wants to live forever

There’s no time for us
There’s no place for us…

That’s what the iconic Queen have been singing about since 1986. Well, a lot has changed since then. So what if the technological progress can give more place and time for us? Economic and political factors are not that inspiring though. Society is still aging but the productive output it is supposed to create will only rise. On the one hand, the industrial revolution is on-task to make rational and productive employment for today’s workforce.

Medicine, at the same time, could very well make longevity a common reality; we could find ourselves living longer. Companies working to delay human death create an ample investment opportunity on the market which will be worth at least $600 billion by 2025, according to Bank of America analysts. Innovation in genome science, as well as AI and big data making use of wearables and smart connected devices, have reasonable chances to make humans  stay healthy and live longer lives — living beyond 100 years, quite possibly.

Featured companies developing longevity technology:

  • Human Longevity. A genomic-based, health intelligence company building the world’s largest library of genotypes and phenotypes and using machine learning to fight diseases associated with aging.
  • BlueRock Therapeutics. A biotech company developing cell-based medicine to repair the human body when the body can’t repair itself, to help fight degenerative diseases.
  • Insilico Medicine. A biotech company developing a high-performance AI platform to develop drugs to treat cancer and age-related diseases.

Living longer might change our working lives

While the areas of precision medicine and AI-related initiatives have seen growth, there are still hurdles to clear. Extending a working lifespan to 60 years will have its challenges as well as its opportunities. Workers will look for ways to be more productive for longer periods, to save funds, and to use resources more efficiently. The process will trigger the next phase of the industrial revolution — and place complications on retirement standards.

As experienced workers dedicate more years to their particular industry, production in such a scenario comes out ahead, but will humanity lose? All because there definitely will be a need to increase income tax to fulfill the retirement obligations and put aside vacation plans.

Now everyone paused to think, does the future of aging really seem so bright thanks to AI? Reimagining work in the age of AI to be life-long employment will require some thinking — and asking many (rhetorical) questions. We must ask ourselves: What are we doing to remain in demand? How can we continue being competitive in the era of robotic automation? Are we ready to study new things through our entire lives? What will we do if the current professions are no longer practiced in, for example, 40 years? To be human in the age of artificial intelligence might be complicated.

If AI disruption lets us be more productive in fewer working hours — and helps the healthcare system to develop ways to prolong our lives — then working until age 70 or 80 may not seem that unusual or unattractive. Consider what Alibaba founder Jack Ma had to say while debating Elon Musk at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference: “I think people should work three days a week, four hours a day… I think that because of artificial intelligence, people will have more time to enjoy being human beings.”

Personal retirement shortfall

Source: Mercer analysis via Mauldin Economics – People Will Live Past Age 100, Yet Most Of Them Won’t Afford It

Industry 6.0 – Is now its time?

When reimagining work in the age of AI, we face the flourishing intelligence or the decline of human civilization? Considering all that has been discussed in this article, let’s ponder what might happen next in AI. In the imagined future age of AI, a globally connected AI would facilitate the resources of a human population exceeding 10 billion people by 2100 (thanks to improved worker longevity). AI won’t automate jobs, but it will automate certain job skills. Most industrial tools and mechanical fabrications will be handled without human intervention but rather by 3D printing, nanotechnology, and computer-aided manufacturing. It’s not likely that fully autonomous robots more intelligent than humans will come about soon — mostly due to the dependency of robots on computational capacity and electricity.

World population with growth projection in billions

Source: Pew Research CenterWorld’s population is projected to nearly stop growing by the end of the century

While a bit vague with its drivers, Industry 6.0 is straightforward with its challenges. To get to the next stage of the industrial revolution, here are some of the obstacles that must be cleared:

  • Legal issues. The legal response to ethical concerns and the pace of technological development should reflect changes in business and society. In practice, however, the response remains ambiguous.
  • Length of human lifespans. By 2050, one in six people in the world will be over age 65 (16%), up from one in 11 in 2019 (9%). That’s good news for longevity matters; however, it means we need even bigger interest and investment in AI-enabled healthcare developments and precision medicine. Initiatives fostered by the outstanding companies mentioned in this article should be increasingly applied. For us to be a leader, not a passive partner, in the future of the Internet of Things, aged people should be much healthier, happier, and fit for work.
  • Overproduction. In the next waves of the industrial revolution, IoT-enabled robotic automation and factory automation will only increase; preventing overproduction will be a challenging task. In an attempt to streamline production, automation of ultimate levels should not work to excess. Instead, rational industrialization should be about fully connected supply chains integrating sales, marketing, and distribution.
  • The inherent reluctance of human beings. For Industry 6.0 to come about one day, lobbyists for the industrial revolution should put some effort into shaping public opinion. Fighting human ignorance and the fear of the unknown are tough battles to wage — especially with so many stakeholders on the field. People in design, engineering, production, operations, finance, marketing, and sales, unfortunately, don’t share a common vision on the future of the Internet of Things — much less Industry 4.0. and technologies beyond.

Final thoughts

Industrial revolutions are about inevitable changes: in the case of Industry 6.0, AI disruption and reimagining work in the age of AI. How far these changes will take humanity — and to what extent we’ll allow robotic automation to substitute human skills — largely depends on us. At Intellias, we’re quite positive about the future of the industrial revolution and firmly believe in its biggest value for humanity —increased quality across a broad spectrum of services.

Does being empowered by the ability to collaborate with new technologies excite you? Does the thought of achieving new heights of industrial productivity inspire you? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then we think alike.