How would you feel if I told you the stories in the Netflix hit show “Black Mirror” were true?!

Well, maybe not yet… but possibly soon. There is a growing belief that the world is on the cusp of massive change in the form of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and it’s looking like it will make the first 3 Industrial Revolutions look like mere dress rehearsals for the main event, so… what is it and why should you care?

Sometimes, it feels like human history has been a technological roller coaster – first we discovered fire and then agriculture, then came the wheel and then cities, manufacturing and trading, followed by steam power, electricity, mass production, synthetic chemicals, computers and the Internet, gene editing, blockchain, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence… Scientists are now talking about growing people in laboratories and maybe even one day possibly downloading our brains into computers.

Industrial Revolution 4.0 - The future is here!

Over the past three hundred years, there has been wave after wave of technological revolutions impacting our lives.

It started with the first Industrial Revolution where we discovered how to fully harness the power of steam.
Then as we moved into the 20th Century we worked out how to mass produce products using electricity. This became the second Industrial Revolution which lasted all the way up to the 1970s, when we discovered digital computers.
…and we found ourselves yet another (third) Revolution.

Now we’re moving into “the fourth Industrial Revolution” or “Industry 4.0”  and the focus is rapid technological growth, in areas such as;

  • Artificial Intelligence,
  • Quantum computing,
  • Self-driving cars,
  • Material hacking,
  • Bio-hacking, and
  • even gene editing.

The big difference with this Revolution is that we’re well on the way to being able to design and engineer the world around us using the very atoms and molecules it’s made of. Which means we will be able to quite literally invent the world around ourselves. For example, by reprogramming DNA which is changing actual reality!

We also need to think about the potential of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) developing to a point where it can use all of this new technology itself. Along with A.I. which we don’t yet fully understand or know how to control, let alone how to handle the many ethical issues that will need to be considered.

Currently, many of the existing quality-centered Industrial Revolution 4.0 initiatives are not being led by quality leaders, but by IT, operations, engineering, or sales and marketing.

In light of Industrial Revolution 4.0, we’ve become aware of changes in our industry which are being led by Quality Experts in the U.S. They’re developing principles to navigates us safely through this revolution. These forward-thinking Quality Experts are calling it Quality 4.0.

It’s also about the digital transformation of management systems and compliance. Although these new capabilities are advanced, this isn’t an unrealistic vision.

Industrial Revolution 4.0 - The future is here!

Quality 4.0 is closely aligning Quality principles and Standards with the predicted challenges of the new Industrial Revolution, to enable innovation and better business models.

Quality teams now need to take an active leadership role in these initiatives by advancing digital technology, and also in the culture of quality, leadership and quality processes. It isn’t just about the technology. It’s about how technology improves:

  • Culture,
  • Collaboration, and
  • Leadership in businesses.

Even though it’s frightening and unchartered territory, it’s also potentially very exciting to think what could happen with controlled automation and connectivity.

At ISO Certification Experts, we’re confident that we’ll play a very important role in assisting Australian businesses to embrace the change, and manage it in a planned and considered way (rather than with fear). Our goal is to become involved in these exciting developments to bring the information home to help lead the 4th Industrial Revolution in Australia, by providing leadership to our clients and rolling out these new principles across the Australian business landscape.

The initiative of becoming involved in influencing these changes requires a movement of like-minded people. We’re interested in hearing from other people and organisations in regards to your thoughts on this subject. Add your thoughts into the Comments section below and let’s start the conversation now!

Credit: Dr Andrew Maynard for thought concepts and Deloitte for visuals.

About the author

Strategic Director at ISO Certification Experts

Clint is in charge of strategic planning and oversees various internal projects at ISO Certification Experts.