ASE Global has sponsored an interesting infographic at Visual Capitalist, explaining what the next generation of manufacturing will look like. It calls it "Industry 4.0". Here's a screenshot of part of it. Click the image for a larger view.
It looks very impressive . . . but it ignores a fundamental aspect of this "evolution" - namely, its utter dependence on a stable power supply and a stable Internet.
Our power supply is increasingly unstable, thanks to reliance on "renewable" energy such as solar or wind power. A windless day, or a cloudy day, or a winter freeze that disables wind turbines (short or long-term), and all that electric generation capability is shut down. Existing fossil- and nuclear-fueled power stations are being closed down, and not being replaced by similarly reliable generating capacity. We saw how perilously close the entire Texas power grid came to total, long-term collapse in February 2021. I'm willing to bet we're going to see the same again, and perhaps even worse, in the not too distant future. If the worst happens, what does that mean for Industry 4.0? It means it shuts down, and stays down, because reliable power supplies will no longer be available.
The same is true of the Internet. Just look at how problems at Amazon Web Services, the biggest service provider of its kind in the USA, crippled many companies last month. If the entire Internet shuts down (as it will if the power goes down, or if other major interruptions such as an EMP event occur), Industry 4.0 is toast too.
It's all very well to hype up the wonderful prospects of the new, improved industrial complex . . . but if there's no power and no Internet, the old Industry 2.0 and 3.0 will be sorely missed. There needs to be a lot more thought put into that, and serious pre-emptive restructuring of our power grid, before Industry 4.0 will be trustworthy.