Fourth Industrial Revolution can take India to new heights: PM Modi

The government has taken major initiatives for the Fourth Industrial Revolution over the last four years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the launch of a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which will be based in Maharashtra

The Centre in India is the fourth in the chain – the ones in San Francisco, US, Japan capital Tokyo and China’s Beijing are already functioning. NITI Aayog will coordinate the partnership on behalf of the government.

The centre would be based in Maharashtra and it has selected drones, artificial intelligence, and blockchain as the first three project areas.

It will work in collaboration with the government on a national level to co-design new policy frameworks and protocols for emerging technology alongside leaders from business, academia, start-ups, and international organizations.

NITI Aayog will coordinate the partnership on behalf of the government and the work of the centre among multiple ministries. The WEF has also entered into partnerships with the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh governments for the new initiative and more states would be roped in going forward.

Projects will be scaled across India and globally. As part of the WEF’s global network, the new centre in India will work closely with project teams in San Francisco, Tokyo, and Beijing, where such Centres are already present.

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

As described by the founder and executive chairman of WEF, Klaus Schwab, “the fourth industrial revolution is a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another”.

1st industrial revolution: The first Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the last quarter of the 18th century with the mechanization of the textile industry, harnessing of steam power, and the birth of the modern factory.

2nd industrial revolution: The Second Industrial Revolution, from the last third of the nineteenth century to the outbreak of World War I, was powered by developments in electricity, transportation, chemicals, steel, and mass production and consumption. Industrialization spread even further – to Japan after the Meiji Restoration and deep into Russia, which was booming at the outset of World War I. During this era, factories could produce countless numbers of identical products quickly and cheaply.

3rd industrial revolution: The third industrial revolution, beginning c. 1970, was digital — and applied electronics and information technology to processes of production. Mass customization and additive manufacturing — the so-called ‘3D printing’ — are its key concepts, and its applications, yet to be imagined fully, are quite mind-boggling.

There are three reasons why today’s transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope, and systems impact.

The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace.

Moreover, it is disrupting 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.

The 4th revolution will be characterized by the advent of cyber-physical systems which, while being reliant on the technologies and infrastructure of the third industrial revolution, represent entirely new ways in which technology becomes embedded within societies and even our human bodies. Examples include genome editing, new forms of machine intelligence, and breakthrough approaches to governance that rely on cryptographic methods such as blockchain.

Hence, it can be said that the 4th industrial revolution is conceptualized as an upgrade on the third revolution and is marked by a fusion of technologies straddling the physical, digital and biological worlds.

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