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Leg 7. From Auckland to Itajaí. Trends in Competitive Advantage: Introduction Industry 4.0.

Good afternoon to you. Did you watch the Leg 7 Start? It was a beautiful beginning. The fleet has been sailing for around two days.  And everything has been going well. After some gybes when leaving Auckland, we are now going south.  Watch the following video please:

As far as my goals for the week, during the next few days, we will cover the topics 1 and 2 of Leg 7 outline. Today is just the introduction. As promised, this week we will cover what is the meaning of Industry 4.0, an introductory note, how did we get here, challenges, advantages, and disadvantages, and the future impact of Industry 4.0 in our societies and beautiful businesses. In addition, we will see the Role of Education as a Source of Competitive Advantage for Industry 4.0.

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Philosophically, the challenge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for all of us has nothing to do with the use of other sources of energy “only” or the several emerging technologies which have been appearing during the last 20 years.  Industry 4.0 seems to be the next revolution because some of those technologies seem to change our “nature” of doing things as human beings. 


Is this what we want?… and is it good for the future generations?

During the last 20 to 30 years, we have developed technologies, robots, automation expertise and knowhow to build in types of machinery which help us to do what we used to do. Every time we produce a new processor or quantum “singularity”, new windows of opportunities are opened in our constant search for better and rapid ways of doing things. Since the beginning of our history, we have been driven by the desire to make stuff which helps us to DO our own job routines. Until now we have been leading it. Please let´s read the following sentence carefully: “We have built STUFF which uses some kind of ENERGY to help us to DO things which we are too INEFFICIENT to perform”. speed is usefulWe created programming and quick computers which help us to be quicker in our data analysis. We created the planes because we can´t fly, and the aircraft help us to be quicker to transport ourselves and our stuff. We created the internet because we wanted to communicate in “real time”, and the internet and WiFi help us to be quicker to communicate and to exchange. We created the “cars” because we were too inefficient by using horses or walking to transport ourselves and our stuff from place A to place B; the cars help us to be quicker to transport. We created the ocean ships because we can´t swim long distances without being tired,  and either for war or for peace, to take loads with us from one continent to the other one without a boat was not possible: The ships help us to be quicker to transport.  Our inventions have always been done to fulfill either efficiency, velocity, real-time responses and for the sake of effectiveness and costs reductions.  And ultimately because we want to improve the quality of our lives. Ok, this has been the rational philosophy behind our innovations until the Industry 3.0. It is a pattern in our history to try to find how to do our tasks: easier, quicker and cheaper. That is how our brains have performed each and all our innovations in every single industry over the centuries.

For example, it was during the 2,500  B.C. when the ABACUS was created by the Sumerians. Before that, I assume men used fingers, pebbles, and stones to do the math. The ABACUS was the math tool used during the next 3,300 years. It was until the year 1387 AD that the first ABACUS evolved to an ABACUS calculating machine developed by the Chinese. Subsequently, it was not until the beginning of the 16th century AD, when the first mechanical calculators began to appear in Europe. engineers slide rule.jpgThe Slide Rule was the next main invention. The slide rule is “basically a sliding stick (or discs) that uses logarithmic scales to allow rapid multiplication and division. Slide rules evolved to allow advanced trigonometry and logarithms, exponentials and square roots”. The slide rule was still used in the 80s, can you believe it?. How many years took to the humans to evolve from the ABACUS to the Slide Rule: Let´s count: around 3,300 years.

the evolution of the calculator

The evolution of the Calculator

As you can see in the timeline shown below, over time the mechanical calculator tools evolved. In different formats and for a different type of clients. Different Calculator technologies were released after 1955. In 1961, the ANITA MK-8 was the first desktop calculator for use in homes and offices. Other models followed such as the First Handheld Calculator (1967), First Handheld Programmable (1974), First Graphing Calculators (1985) and recently the present day calculators which are calculators with the touch screen, color, and adaptable displays and can be hooked up to computer applications, and so much more!

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What has it happened in the Calculators Industry since its inception in the 2,500 BC? It has evolved over several technologies (mechanical, electronic, microchip to digital). In addition, it has varied depending on the type of clients (calculators used by engineers are completely different from the calculators used by scientific or business and administrative discipline professionals).

And if we analyze other industries, such as the transportation, the aeronautics, the food production, manufacturing, the communications industry, oil, and gas, etc… we can also see the different technologies evolution which have helped us to communicate, to manufacture and to transport  (in between other activities) ourselves much better than the rest of the beings on the planet.

Now let´s land into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Why do you think this era will change everything from now and then?

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution will have a deep and broad impact in our lives because we are considering for the first time to give “life” to machines (we are closer than ever, and this is not just a movie anymore). What is life in this context? Do we know it?… We are building artificial intelligence maybe better than many of us, which will be able to do all that we do “better”. The idea of an alternative is not the case here. We are thinking of substituting our life with several of these innovations. And I ask all of us:  Is this ethically correct?

In the past, we were looking for utensils, for tools, for stuff outside of us which were helpers to our quotidian and job life.  Our thinking was: let´s create an abacus which will help us to do mathematic operations. Let´s create the wheel for building a car, to arrive quickly and safely to our destinations.  Let ´s fly, and we built the aeronautic industry. But this time with Industry 4.0, with some of the technologies in place, such as Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning, we are talking about giving life to “something” which will be better than us exponentially… we are talking about a whole new world of emerging technologies which will not only help us but “maybe” replace us completely if we are not careful enough to envision the consequences for our future generations… Can you see the difference now?…  Where are we going?, Do we have any idea?, What type of economic model are we building?…

More to continue…

Thank you!

Source References:

Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos posted unless otherwise stated.

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