Thursday, 25 January 2018

Are you ready for the new industrial age?

I do quite a bit of editorial work for the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. Don't yawn: this organisation represents one of the most crucial parts of business and society. Without logistics, nothing and no one would ever get anywhere.

One of the hot topics at the moment is the Fourth Industrial Revolution*, which we are in the middle of, in case you haven't noticed. Broadly speaking, this is the emergence of the internet and digitisation, and the fusing of physical, digital and biological worlds. Still with me?

I love all this stuff. Artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, quantum computing (no, me neither) and nanotechnology are changing everything and while I don't pretend to understand it all, I'm constantly amazed at what is possible. That's not to say, though, that I'm ready to embrace it all in my own home. I don't want a smart meter or a fridge that can tell me when I'm running low on milk. Nor do I want a smartphone, because I don't want to be always 'on'.

However, my trusty PAYG Samsung nearly went in the bin this morning, because it stopped cooperating with me. It wouldn't let me key in words properly when I wanted to send a text and kept adding unwanted accents and peculiar characters. Fortunately, Mr Thorley was on hand to take a rational look at the problem and was able to tell me that I'd somehow managed to switch the input language to French.

Oops. I don't think I'm quite ready for the Internet of Things.

* Because I'm sure you're dying to know: the First Industrial Revolution took place at the end of the 18th Century, with the emergence of mechanisation; the Second came at the end of the 19th Century, with technological advancements evolving from the emergence of gas and oil as new power sources; the Third began in 1969, founded on the rise of nuclear energy and of electronics, leading to the development of transistors and microprocessors.


  1. I don't like smart phones, either. I actually have one, because my husband gave me one as a "twofer" that gave us a good deal. But I ignore all the urgings to download this app and that app. I don't want all those apps. Like you, I don't want to be tied to staring at my phone all the time.

    1. I like technology, but I prefer to have problem and then solve it, rather than download a program or buy a gadget and then work out what on earth I can use it for.