Global Technological and Industrial Revolutions

A fine student I know, Eric Cho, wrote this essay and I thought it was a pretty cool quick read that pretty much covers all areas of advancement that we have faced in recent history and some implications. Enjoy, and thanks, Eric!


There have been several historically significant revolutions throughout the last three centuries and some that are still occurring. If one were to observe the 18th and 19th century,one would find there is a major difference between them. During the 18th century people made all goods by hand. However, in the 19th century, the industrial revolution emerged which allowed people to manufacture goods by machine. Then, a century later, landed the second industrial revolution. During the second industrial revolution, there was a transformation that occurred where instead of smaller goods, heavy and chemical products were able to be produced. Nowadays, we are living in the third industrial revolution where importance shifted from the production industry towards complex information which can be converted into physical matter during a ‘printing’ process – much like how you print 2D items from your desktop printer. Finally, in the future, the production process will take place in the network and the heart of this revolution will be <big data>. With this giant global mesh of interconnected networks prefaced, one can now travel back in time to explore the details of its roots.

To begin with, the first industrial revolution started in England in the middle of the 19th century. Then it sporadically spread into Europe, America and Russia. At the end of the 20th century, it flared out to Latin America and South East Asia. The incubation of the first industrial revolution took place at the beginning of the 19th century when England suddenly transformed into a capitalist community. A primarily agricultural society was rapidly being converted into a production industry. The industry that led industrial revolution was the cotton industry. The cotton industry’s sudden development triggered quick development of every industry. Specifically, production producing, production of raw material which was usually made by machines, increased drastically. The main cities where the first industrial revolution occurred were Liverpool and Manchester. Therefore, after the railroad passing through Liverpool and Manchester was created, those two cities became the heart of the first industrial revolution. The most notable impact of this revolution on our lives is how it greatly influenced the products manufactured at that time.

After the introduction of simple automated machinery during the first industrial revolution, the Ford system -the center of the mass production- appeared in the early part ofthe 20th century. The Ford system was the start of mass production which initiated the second industrial revolution. The main fruit produced from the second industrial revolution was the development of heavy and chemical industry and mass production of light industry. The reason why the heavy and chemical industry could not be adopted before the ford system is that it took an extremely long time to make those items one-by-one. In addition, the application of the Ford system on factories greatly lowered the price of the products since the supply became much higher than the demand. However, the ability to mass produce around the world became one of the fundamental circumstances leading up to the Great Depression. It became the forerunner of the famous economic crash of October due to the fact that mass
production stopped for a while and this massive hiccup triggered the reduction of the production of the goods. Ultimately, the second industry revolution and Ford system was intended to be good but ended up producing notable setbacks for the worldwide economy.

Unlike any of the previous two revolutions, the information revolution stood apart from its earlier and later counterparts. Through the development of electronic devices such as computers and smartphones, the global network was born. One may mistakenly assume that the information revolution spawned from the global network, but in fact, the physical infrastructure is the foundation of the non-physical information revolution. The reason is that without this physical global web, information would not have a means of being disseminated on a large and effective scale. Therefore, it can be assumed that there is a direct correlation between the technology and information revolution. There are several consequences brought about by this unique revolution. The information revolution started with great ideas. To be specific, we have been subjected to a bombardment of second-by-second global news updates. On the other hand, the global network caused severe problems with privacy. With people handing over their personal information on the network, sometimes unknowingly, the network has become full of private information such as ID card numbers and cell phone numbers. Also, these reservoirs of personal data existing on the global network are a goldmine for advertisers and even criminals who would could abuse such access. Even with the disadvantages associated with the speedy growth of the network, we however have improved a lot from this big data source. Ultimately, the global network is the face of Janus, with giving people information on one side and having problems with protecting privacy or the other.

The fourth revolution is where information and mass production meet together. With those electronic devices born out of the previous revolution, came forth a new, unique development where the production process moved to the household. Thanks to the growth of the 3D printer, society has become able to manufacture some products in the comfort of their own home. Additionally, the method of making 3D printers, which is making it with machines that are based on complex information, is also a byproduct. The implementation of new technology that makes use of complex data during the production process is what brought us into this limitless society. However, this limitless community is creating a potentially massive risk. The problem is that people can even make some illegal items such as firearms. This can be extremely dangerous for the public. Therefore, to live harmoniously with 3D printer technology, there must be laws established which restrict people from making illegal products. Lastly, with legislation around 3D printers and their output, this fourth revolution is poised to be a monumental success, on par or greater than its predecessors.

To conclude, these global revolutions have greatly influenced our life style. Without these four industrial revolutions, there could not have been such improvements in our daily lives. From the cotton industry to the 3D printer, our civilization has undergone extreme development. It is impossible to deny that the growth throughout the last two centuries has been very positive overall and 50 years from now, people will find themselves in the midst of the real ubiquitous computing society in which they could accomplish almost anything lying in their own bed. Ultimately, these global revolutions created positive improvements especially by increasing the level of comfort and convenience on a daily basis in a variety of ways.