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Will Machines Replace Humans in the Industry 4.0?

Will Machines Replace Humans in the Industry 4.0?


Digitization, Digitalization, Digital Transformation, Industrial Revolution 4. What's next? 

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Fourth Industrial Revolution - Industry 4.0

Where is this disruptive technology taking us? We've seen the industrial revolution effects on jobs and most of labor-efficient markets are worried about the 4th industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 that it might take a lot of market jobs. 

Take it or leave it, disruptive technology always creates new jobs much more than depleted jobs. You might notice certain jobs disappearing but those jobs are the jobs that transform humans to robots, to machines, and the technology is creating machines to replace them. 
Also, those jobs are mostly task-driven and does not involve any brain action They just encompass routine and are mainly positioned around repetitive manufacturing processes. 

No need to be afraid of the digital world, although everything is getting digital. Nowadays, it's not enough for a company to teach its employees about management skills, finance, accounting, HR and other functional jobs. The trend is now driven towards customer analysis. 

Technology creates the data analysis tools to manipulate and create custom scenarios using artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data and machine learning (ML) algorithms to predict and drive consumer behavior. Data analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, and others are available today for free, and, if used correctly, can help organizations save millions, maybe billions of dollars of sales and marketing.

Note: The market is full of data analytics tools, so be careful to chose the most mature ones that have enough reviews and evaluations from genuine customers and are from original sources of well-known and well-reputed companies.

Industry 4.0 Timeline

The below books timeline shows the mindset change throughout history which led us to the fourth industrial revolution, what is called Industry 4.0. Each book is reviewed briefly and uses one keyword, in bold, to show the link with the previous one. 

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Industry 4.0 Timeline

Book 1: The Innovator's Dilemma - When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

will machines replace humans, the innovator's dilemma, industry 4.0, industrial revolution explained, humans vs robots, human machine interface
The Innovator's Dilemma

Few decades ago, the key differentiation among organizations was the innovation. You create an innovative idea for a service or product, you launch it and start earning your benefits. Innovation helped companies to stay relevant in the ever-changing business environment.

In this book, Clay Christensen, shows how even the most outstanding companies can do everything right, yet still lose market share just because they missed out new waves of innovation and didn't abandon the business traditional practices. 

For more information about innovation, please check my previous post about the art of innovation here

Book 2: The World is Flat - A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century

will machines replace humans, industry 4.0, industrial revolution explained, humans vs robots, human machine interface
The World is Flat

One of the most important innovations that has changed the work trend was the fact that the world became flat, offering access to passionate and qualified talent at much lower cost. 

The most affected countries were of course China and India, where the industrial revolution created economic powerhouses in the manufacturing and services market. 

In this book, Thomas L. Friedman lists stories that will change your mind about how to see things in a new way. Also, on how to be a political activist and social entrepreneur where globalization phenomenon is taking effect. He also highlights the more troubling question of how to manage our reputations and privacy in a world where we are all becoming publishers and public figures.

Change initiatives were a must at that time, there was an urge to empower individuals to lift populations out of poverty and drawbacks. 

Book 3: The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

will machines replace humans, industry 4.0, industrial revolution explained, humans vs robots, human machine interface
The Second Machine Age

At this stage, and due to the inevitable inflation expansion, a change was unavoidable, but this time the change was towards an evolution in the industrial sector to meet the tremendous increase in population and technologies. 

In this book, the authors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee reveal the forces driving the reinvention of our lives and our economy. Companies will be forced to change or die. People will have to adapt to that change as well, otherwise, they will lose their jobs.  

Digital technologies, including hardware, software and networks will have a better ability than doctors to diagnose accurately diseases by manipulating available data that only humans could do earlier. 

This book also sheds a light on how to revamp the education so that it prepares the people to the next economy instead of the historical one. Here is where Industry 4.0 is born and the robots have risen.  

Book 4: Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future    

will machines replace humans, industry 4.0, industrial revolution explained, humans vs robots, human machine interface
Rise of the Robots

When almost everybody started talking about robots, most of the industries started raising the risk of losing their employees and replacing them with machines. At that point specifically, the researchers and scientists started digging in market studies to evaluate which jobs will be lost and which will be regained from this disruption. 

Robots are more efficient and productive than humans in a lot of repetitive manufacturing tasks, also much cheaper when it comes to payroll and expenses.

In this book, Martin Ford explains clearly the dilemma of "who and what" will remain in the market and "who and what" will leave, in terms of talent and jobs. 
Artificial Intelligence was already on its way to make a lot of jobs as obsolete; blue collar and white collar workers are at risk and the economy as a whole was not ready to face the implications and consequences of technology disruption. 

It is very recommended to read this book to understand how the economy bypassed this situation of loss and how we moved from the fear of losing manufacturing jobs to the fear of losing service automated jobs. 

Book 5: Service Automation Robots and the Future of Work   

will machines replace humans, industry 4.0, industrial revolution explained, humans vs robots, human machine interface
Service Automation Robots and The Future of Work

Robots also started taking place of some jobs in the service industry where automation started to invade the services that white collars used to accomplish. Somebody had to jump in and explain the future and where are robots leading the industry. 

Professors Leslie Willcocks and Mary Lacity summarize the answer of the "1-million $" question: "Will we be needed anymore?" 
Using multiple case studies, surveys, and interviews with service automation clients, the authors research the market for clear answers about how humans and robots can interact without replacing each other. 

Which jobs will remain for humans while the AI algorithms are improving dramatically?

Book 6: Human + Machine - Remaining Work in the Age of AI  

will machines replace humans, industry 4.0, industrial revolution explained, humans vs robots, human machine interface
Human + Machine - Reimagining Work in the Age of AI

Struggling to find a formula that combines humans + machines to accelerate the economy and beat the Industry 4.0 revolution is the role of brilliant researchers and scientists. 

Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson released this book to define the key components of this formula and explain how the market evolved with its two pillars: Humans and Machines.

In order to grow, the economy gurus and researchers could not give away any of these two factors, so the formula is found and simple: Humans have to embrace machines and work together with them. 

Organizations need to understand how AI is evolving rapidly, they need to harness AI to surge ahead, otherwise, they will fall behind. 

Now, humans and machines started competing together, and a new race is created between the two challenges for better advantages.

Book 7: Only Humans Need Apply - Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines 

will machines replace humans, industry 4.0, industrial revolution explained, humans vs robots, human machine interface
Only Humans Need Apply

Will humans surrender to machines? Humans created those machines so the answer is ?
AI is penetrating in almost every aspect of our personal life, our jobs and even our emotions. Humans need to find jobs where they can take advantage of jobs that machines cannot. 

Thomas Hayes Davenport and Julia Kirby restate the conversation about how machines are deeply integrated with humans, and that the battle or race is not actually a race. They both have to adapt together. 
They both need to work together, in other terms, humans need to use technology effectively and efficiently to accelerate and realize augmentation in better, faster, and smarter ways. 

Creativity is required between the two economy pillars and innovation will be back to distinguish the winning organizations from the falling ones because innovation is always the winner. The choice is ours. 

Book 8: The Human Advantage - The Future of American Work in an Age of Smart Machines

will machines replace humans, industry 4.0, industrial revolution explained, humans vs robots, human machine interface
The Human Advantage

If you are interested about how the American market evolved with the race of humans and machines, you might be interested to read this book. Also, if you are willing to continue the progress of our post timeline to know if you will be replace by technology or not, you might need to read this book and the next one, as they will give you the answer in your perspective like nobody can answer it better. 

In this story-driven manifesto about the American work, Jay W. Richards gives us the result of such un-ending battle argument, because it makes us more fragile and dependent on arguing rather than focusing on integration and success in our evolving economy. 

The American work succeeded to create a model for all social levels to thrive and live with the age of disruption. Richard defines clearly in this book what was happening in the economy and how real individuals began to rebuild a new culture of virtue, capitalizing on human skills only, including but not limited to: creativity, resilience, and empathy. Simply "Emotional Intelligence". 

Book 9: The AI Advantage - How to Put the Artificial Intelligence Revolution to Work 

will machines replace humans, industry 4.0, industrial revolution explained, humans vs robots, human machine interface
The AI Advantage

AI growth is inevitable. It will improve our decision making dramatically in business, medicine, trading, finance, data analysis, product development, manufacturing processes, and many other invisible tasks. 

But, AI won't replace human workers, it will rather augment their capabilities for them to be both smarter and working together. They create a competitive advantage when applied correctly in organizational decision making process. 

Thomas H. Davenport offers us a clear guide in this book on how to use the available technology tools and utilities, to make more efficient decisions. 

Humans should develop their own expertise on top of what AI can report to them from the automated data analysis when engaging customers and employees with AI chatbots. Customers or consumers driving the future business by using AI technologies highlighted in this book, will definitely push organizations to cooperate with technology.

Multiple stories mentioned in this book will show us how Google and Amazon have driven the AI market towards perfection and used those technologies to achieve what they are now doing and leading the market. 


When any new technology emerge, it is compared to positive pandemic, and organizations need not to resist or fight its emergence because it will be too late to catch up after falling back. 

The internet is full of stories of huge organizations who did not realize that they are falling back like Nokia, BlackBerry, and others.

Quick and effective adaptation to technology change is the key of success for us, and innovation is the key of differentiation. Organizations need to focus on ways to integrate together, augment their actions and efforts, towards achieving success. 

Humans and Machines will continue to fight but isn't that fight necessary and useful for competition? 
Competition always create a healthy environment where all parties thrive to advance and the market will prosper with new creative inventions. 


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  1. Very nice article, it gave a full view about industry revolutions and comprehensive.

    1. Thank you for passing by, Dr. Faisal. I'm glad you liked it.

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