Centre for World Environmental History

Industry 4.0 and the Environment

CWEH Blog 13 June 2019
Stuart Richard Peters / Rohan D’Souza

If you have never come across Industry 4.0 or have only heard of it in passing then its significance will have little resonance. One label it could be given is that it’s the next (huge) technological ‘wave’ that includes technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Robotics, Internet of Things, and 3D-Printing, amongst others. These are converging together to radically reshape the world we live in. In a lively commentary on the subject, Rohan D’Souza explains (albeit from an Indian perspective) its evolution and implications.

On the environmental side of the equation, it was the technologies from Industry 2.0, especially the internal combustion engine and electricity that helped foster the modern day environmental crisis that has come to haunt us with a vengeance, Henry Ford fostered mass production of the automobile with his Model-T, and electricity powered factories that ended up being able to produce an ever wider choice of goods in ever increasing quantities. What the planet certainly doesn’t need in the future is anymore emissions from transportation or for that matter waste generated by a highly consumerist society. How else can you explain the urgent demands for organisations and countries to declare ‘climate emergencies’? One really interesting question is to what extent does Industry 4.0 offer an opportunity to move away from some of the more destructive forms of environmental damage (e.g. emissions, mineral extraction) that are so common place?

Read Rohan D’Souza's post on firstpost.com:
Does a machine-colonised future await Indian youth in the era of industryt 4.0?

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