The 4th Industrial Revolution… the term that sets Tech Gurus and Business Leaders alight. Everybody Seems to have their own definition of this phenomena, but us average folk seem to always get lost in all the technical jargon. To truly understand the 4th industrial revolution, one must look at all revolutions before and their influences on the world.
The 1st Industrial Revolution came with the invention of the steam engine. This created the transition from hand production methods to steam-powered machine automation in everything from agriculture to textile manufacturing.
The 2nd Industrial Revolution came about with an array of new inventions, most notably electricity and the assembly line. This made mass production of goods and services possible, making items such as cars more affordable for the middle class. All things considered, its safe to say this ushered in the modern world.
The 3rd Industrial revolution, or the digital revolution as it is commonly called, brought about the invention of electronics and semi-conductors. This brought an influx of new technologies such as mechanical devices, personal computing and the internet. Electronics and Information Technology begun to automate production and take supply chains global. This led companies, organizations and governments to focus their efforts on revitalizing their IT infrastructure.
The 4th industrial revolution (finally) is characterised by the merging of technology into human lives. As machines and people continue to converge, an increase in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming a norm in day to day life. We see the influence in fully automated factories, personal assistants like Siri, facial recognition and 3D printing. As Klaus Schwab (the creator of the World Economic Forum) described this phenomenon, the new technological revolution is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.
To every Ying, there is a Yang and as constructive technology advances so does the darker side to this increased mobility and interconnectivity. The rise of the internet saw the dawn of cyber attacks which have evolved from simple worms in the late 80s to the latest trend of File less malware.
A history of cyber attacks
There has been an exponential increase in security risks as more data and business operations move to the cloud. Black hat hackers are relentless in their pursuit of access to personal data and cyber security has become an upmost priority for organisations as vulnerable servers fall victim to ransomware and other forms of ever-evolving malware. There is however, light at the end of the tunnel.
The rise in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is being adopted to help thwart the ever-prevalent risk of cyber-attack. Since AI applications are based on neural networks, machine learning, deep learning and Natural Language Processing algorithms, these machines act like humans only after they are trained well to accomplish specific activities by processing huge amounts of data and identifying patterns in it. As such, AI has the potential to make cyber security more efficient and responsive against ever increasing threats and improve the cyber security posture of an organization.
The onus is, however, on organisations to start prioritizing cyber security, and start taking measures to prepare not only for existing, but also future security risks. Sector specific baselines and an integrated data protection framework is necessary to derive sustainable benefits from this current technological revolution.