The fourth industrial revolution in manufacturing

Innovation can be disruptive. History shows us that, in the face of major disruption, the winners embrace change and adapt. Just look at the impact that personal computers have had on the workplace. Today, it would be difficult to find a good job that does not require at least basic computer skills. The innovations unleashed by computer science in the 1980s and 1990s triggered unprecedented productivity gains and changed our lives.

We now stand at a new crossroads. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought artificial intelligence, cloud computing and predictive analytics to the workplace. In the emerging industrial era, machines are increasingly capable of telling us how they feel, which means they can be repaired before they break down. Renewable energy will be unlimited by geography as transmission systems expand under seas and across continents. Cities of the future will be free of traffic emissions, and many buildings will produce more energy than they consume. Collaborative robots will work side-by-side with humans.

Countries that embrace innovation are leading in competitiveness and job creation. Robotics, one of the fastest-growing technologies in the world, is a case in point. While some people are concerned that robots could take jobs away from humans, the reverse turns out to be the case. The three countries with the highest density of robots per factory worker — South Korea, Germany and Japan — also enjoy exceptionally low unemployment rates. Without investing in automation, these strong economies would not be globally competitive, and their workforces…

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