B2 Cover Feature

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

As humans, we have always relied on technology and innovations to make our lives easier. One of the first inventions to truly revolutionise the way we lived was the wheel. Suddenly, travel became much easier, as did the transportation of food and other resources. For the first time, humans did not have to carry or pull heavy loads by themselves, and travel was made possible for larger groups and bigger loads.

Although we take many of these innovations for granted today, they are essential for our lives. Throughout history, technological innovations have appeared in waves. These ‘waves’ are known as industrial revolutions.

Historians and pundits have identified three previous industrial revolutions, and they are listed out here in the order they took place:

1.The First Industrial Revolution
This took place during the late 18th to the 19th centuries, especially in Europe where the population was largely dependent on agriculture. People began to move to bigger cities where large scale factories were being built. At this stage, machinery was used to upscale the production of everyday necessities. The main source of energy and power was steam.

2. The Second Industrial Revolution
The second industrial revolution took place some time before World War I. The major breakthrough during this period was the discovery of electricity and the laying down of the very first power lines. Steam powered machinery was replaced by newer models that ran on electricity. It was during this era that the telephone was invented as well as the light bulb, phonograph and internal combustion engine (which is the engine concept we use in vehicles today).

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pundits – people or group of people who are expert in a certain field
phonograph – an early device that was able to record sound and voices, and replay it back
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