We’re on our way to the Third Industrial Revolution.
The First Industrial Revolution began in Britain, in the late 18th century, with the mechanization of the textile industry. Tasks previously done laboriously by hand, in hundreds of weavers’ cottages were brought together in a single cotton mill, and the factory was born.
The Second Industrial Revolution came in the early 20th century, when Henry Ford mastered the moving assembly line and ushered in the age of mass production.
The Third Industrial Revolution is now underway. Manufacturing is going digital.
The old way of making things involved taking lots of parts and screwing or welding them together. Now a product can be designed on a computer and “printed” on a 3D printer, which creates a solid object by building up successive layers of material.
While the factory of the past was cranking out hoards of identical products, the factory of the future will focus on mass customization.
Just as cotton mills crushed handlooms and the Model T put farriers out of work, this revolution, too, will be disruptive.
Many people will look at the factories of the future and shudder. They will not be full of grimy machines manned by men in oily overalls. Many will be squeaky clean—and almost deserted.
h/t: THE ECONOMIST