4th Industrial revolution and Robotics

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) is a term that describes present technological age. It is the fourth industrial era since the inception of the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. The key elements of the fourth revolution are the fusion of technologies ranging from the physical, digital to biological spheres. Prime Minister gave an institutional shape to the expression by launching the Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution in India.



As described by the founder and executive chairman of World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, “the fourth industrial revolution is a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another”.


Characteristics of IR 4.0:

  • It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
  • It brings together digital technology and the physical world to create a new range of products and services.
  • The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited.
  • And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.
  • The revolution is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace and it is disrupting almost every industry in every country.


Agriculture Sector:

  • AI can be used to predict advisories for sowing, pest control, input control can help in ensuring increased income and providing stability for the agricultural community.
  • Precision agriculture uses AI technology to aid in detecting diseases in plants, pests, and poor plant nutrition on farms.
  • AI sensors can detect and target weeds and then decide which herbicides to apply within the right buffer zone.
  • Climate pattern and effects on different crops can be analysed using AI software which will help in prediction of the best crop for the season and the possible outcomes.
  • Image classification tools combined with remote and local sensed data can bring a revolutionary change in utilization and efficiency of farm machinery, in areas of weed removal, early disease identification, produce harvesting and grading.


Manufacturing sector:

  • Robots are being used for manufacturing since a long time now; however, more advanced exponential technologies have emerged such as additive manufacturing (3D Printing) which with the help of AI can revolutionize the entire manufacturing supply chain ecosystem.
  • The predictive maintenance of machineries would lead to reduced operational cost
  • IR technologies would be helpful in minimizing deterioration in the quality of the machinery
  • By having a repository of data regarding machines and equipment’s will aid in managing them well.
  • Robots can perform the tasks given by a human because of sensors to detect physical data from the real world such as light, heat, temperature, movement, sound, bump, and pressure.
  • Moreover, they have efficient processors, multiple sensors and huge memory, to exhibit intelligence.
  • Further, they are capable of learning from their errors and therefore can adapt to the new environment.


Way forward:

  • Governments, businesses and civil society organisations should put together an ecosystem for massive upskilling of the workforce.
  • India needs to prepare itself for a period of information and digital abundance, adapt itself to the scorching pace of innovation and learn to collaborate on scale, quickly transform the idea into a breakthrough innovation, shift from a system of time-bound education to a mode of continuous learning and create more employment opportunities than what new and disruptive technologies take away.
  • There is a need for good quality education to make India’s youth a productive asset.
  • Access to finance commensurate with maturity of the business model and beginning stage of the start-up lifecycle is extremely important to scale innovations.
  • Corporates will have a key role in championing this on-going movement, leveraging the ART Model – Alliances, Relationships enabled through Technology.



Industrial Revolution that first began in Great Britain and later in United States (after end of Civil War) has helped nations in developing faster and easier means of mass production. It has transformed lives of people in many ways over about 250 years. India is also catching up with focussing on Industrial Revolution 4.0. Development of new technologies in this era can help the nations in many ways if these technologies are used effectively for the welfare of mankind.