Introduction:The Fourth Revolution

A major change is underway in the business world. We are at the start of a new economy based on information, which some call the Fourth Revolution.

Here is how Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, puts it:

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanise production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

However you define it, the rate at which our new economy is transforming itself is incredible. Bio-engineering, particle physics, space technology, nanotechnology, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and blockchain are just some of the most innovative technologies in the world today. Each revolution has advanced the human race further and faster than the last, and the new revolution is no exception. In fact, the speed of change it has brought has an exponential trajectory, and those who find themselves falling behind will find it harder and harder to catch up to the pacesetters. Nowhere is this more evident than in the business sector.

Every day a new book, blog post or article highlights the dramatic impact ...

Get Chasing Digital now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.