Technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres of global production systems. The current pace of technological development is exerting profound changes on the way people live and work. Production activities, defined as the full chain to “source-make-deliver-consume-reintegrate” products and services, will be altered and extended in ways that are difficult to fully envisage – from origination of inputs, product design and manufacturing, to distribution, customer/consumer use and elements of the circular economy/return/reuse.
However, accurate knowledge of the value and perils that technologies can create for companies and countries is not widely diffused. Business executives, government leaders and the public would benefit from clearly understanding the current state of technology readiness and adoption, and their converging impact and value on the factory floor, as well as on firms, industries, society and the individual.
This white paper, prepared in collaboration with A.T. Kearney, explores the new technology landscape focusing on five technologies that will have the most immediate impact on production-related sectors, individually and in combination. It raises questions for chief executive officers, government leaders, civil society leaders and academics about the implications for individuals, companies, industries, economies and society as a whole.