Technology companies of all sizes are heavily focused on research and development for The Internet of Things. Artificial intelligence, neural networks, semantic search, and natural voice recognition, all play a huge role in our daily lives. The Internet of Things will certainly put humanity on track for of a Third Industrial Revolution. In fact, it has already begun.
Experts predict this third revolution will fundamentally change capitalism as we know it. For example, best-selling author Jeremy Rifkin predicts how the Internet of Things can lower, or reduce to zero, the costs associated with producing goods and services.
In other words, our products and services could become freely shared in much the same way we freely share information today. The effects of this emerging new economic system can be far-reaching and quite profound. It could fundamentally chance capitalism as we know it. This emerging new economic system is referred to in Jeremy's book 'The Zero Marginal Cost Society' as Global Collaborative Commons.
Producers and manufacturers have always welcomed lower marginal costs. However, global economists never once assumed that a technological revolution such as the Internet of Things could lower costs to near or at zero. In fact, some predictions say various goods and services could become free, abundant, and no longer subject to market forces.
This almost sounds like being in a futuristic Star Trek movie where people no longer have to spend money because all of their needs are met. As technology like 3-D printing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things become more common humanity will begin to focus on personal pursuits instead of making money. Changing what we focus on is not unlike what happened during the first two Industrial Revolutions.
First Industrial Revolution
The first Industrial Revolution, simply known as the Industrial Revolution, began in England sometime around the year 1760. It ended between the years 1820 and 1840. During this era, many important inventions were created. These inventions made our lives a lot easier, but also made what we produced a lot cheaper.
People began to move away from the harsh conditions of rural life to the cities where they had financial opportunities. Jobs became plentiful and the standard of living began to sharply rise for many. The population also rose thanks to improved health care. In other words, life became vastly accelerated just like it is today in our modern age of computers.
Before this era, humans lived for many thousands of years using only a few crude tools. They made just what they needed for survival. However, a few significant inventions happened along the way. The wheel is one example. Nevertheless, none of them can compare to the life-altering inventions that we saw being created during the first Industrial Revolution.
Suddenly people found they were prosperous with a lot more time on their hands. They were free to focus on personal pursuits rather than just survival. The beginning of the modern age had rapidly arrived and with great success.
To fill in their free time things like restaurants and nightclubs began to open. Schools and universities began to flourish because people had more time and money for educational pursuits. Theaters and sporting arenas were built to entertain us. All this was thanks to the rapid development of these new technologies.
A Few Of The Significant Inventions Made During The First Industrial Revolution include:
- Steam Engine
- Spinning Jenny
- Sewing Machine
- Cotton Gin
- Light Bulb
- Crop Reaper
Second Industrial Revolution
The second Industrial Revolution, also known as the technology revolution, began a few decades after the First Industrial Revolution. Historians generally agree that it was between 1870 right up to the start of the first world war. This was the era when many advancements in manufacturing and production technology were created.
Pre-existing inventions such as railroads, the telegraph, utilities, and others, were greatly improved upon or redesigned to meet the ever expanding population. By now electrical lines and telephones lines were common.
The expansion of communication technology just after 1870 allowed the movement of thoughts, ideas, and even people, on an unprecedented level. This expansion is what began the first wave of globalization.
The rise of the combustion engine coupled with improved railway and water transportation gave us access to nationwide travel and worldwide trade. Moreover, large-scale steel and iron technology gave rise to bigger and better buildings. This meant that more people began to move to the cities.
The Second Industrial Revolution ended with numerous improvements in the textile industry among others. Inventions became synergistic with each other which unlike during the first Industrial Revolution. Steel, petroleum, iron, railroads, combustion engines and, finally, electricity all played a part in giving people more free time.
A Few Of The Significant Inventions Made During The Second Industrial Revolution include:
- Velox Photographic Paper
- Rechargeable Batteries
- Combustion Engine
- Improved Alloys
- Improved Light Bulbs
- Assembly Line
Sensing the Environment - What Are Sensors?
What is needed to link computer technologies like artificial intelligence, voice recognition, and machine learning, to the Internet of Things is something that we humans are born with. We are born with an ability to sense our environment. Up until now this is something that machines have lacked.
However, this is rapidly changing due to advancements in sensor technology. MEMS, the acronym for MicroElectroMechanical System, is what will give computers and machines the ability to sense their environment. These special sensors will be the eyes, ears, sense of smell and touch that will help machines become more like humans. MEMS sensors include microphones, accelerometers, pressure-based sensors, gyroscopes, motion detectors, facial and voice recognition, and temperature sensors. The list is long.
How Is Artificial Intelligence Using These Sensors?
Sensor technology will become so sophisticated and realistic that it can relay the sense of touch. Imagine being able to touch or feel a product online before deciding to purchase it. The sense of smell will be used to detect illness in much the same way a dog can use their nose to detect abnormal smells like cancer. Doctors will be able to scan their patients to instantly detect disease or anomalies. This is certainly something we would see in any science fiction movie like Star Trek.
MEMS sensor technology will also become the basis for integrating modern devices with other complementary technology. It will enable driverless cars to safely transport their occupants across town or across the country. Smart homes will become even smarter. Machine automation with facial recognition technology and sensors will automatically set the lights or turn on the television to a specific station depending on who the machine senses in the room.
What Is The Future Outcome?
Internet of Things has a bright future. The products and jobs it will create will be too many to list. As time goes by more and more things will become connected. The IP address issue is solved with the introduction of IPv6. Security issues are a concern but they are being addressed.
Collaborative Commons will advance mankind in unique ways by making goods and services as freely available as the information that surrounds us. Humanity will have time to focus on more important things like space travel.
How Can It Lead To Free Products And Services?
The best example of this would be 3-D printing. It already has near zero marginal cost. Banking is being bypassed in favor of crowdfunding for financing new startups. Alternative currencies like bitcoin will advance the sharing economy as social capital becomes equally as important as financial capital.
Sustainability will supersede consumerism while mutual cooperation will overthrow competition. These are just a few examples of how the Internet of things could lead to free products and services.
How Can It Free Us From Work And Create Wealth?
Increased collaboration using a new generation of technology is helping to make business interactions seamless. For example, iRobot is an interesting piece of technology that can create virtual meetings without the user having to be there. Impromptu meetings have suddenly become a lot easier and free. This is freeing us from work.
Retailers are beginning to look at using in-store sensors using Bluetooth transmitters to speak with their shoppers smartphone. The information they gather can be used to create better store layouts and displays. Smarter layouts create more wealth for the business owner by increasing sales and profit margins.
It's no secret that the Internet of Things is already starting to change how we live, play, and perform our jobs. It is ushering in a Third Industrial Revolution. IoT will result in a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce while lower costs for businesses.