Unlike the past two industrial revolutions, innovations have been unfolding in the software and information space driving the third industrial revolution. The transistor is the technology core. Continued progression of it has also formed other technology cores. These technology cores have been fuelling creative waves of destruction and monopolization. They are also supporting incremental innovation, turning most of the industrial products into smart devices.
The invention of the Transistor in 1947 started to unfold creative waves in the 1950s. It is the beginning of the third industrial revolution. The technology core of the 3rd industrial revolution is the Transistor, architecture of chips, and silicon processing technologies to produce them. However, unlike the other two industrial revolutions, the unfolding of creative waves in the information space, as opposed to energy, is the third industrial revolution’s distinctive feature. Apart from it, some other technologies derived from the Transistor also formed technology cores for fueling creative waves.
Moreover, the uprising of creative waves has made many behemoths bankrupt while making startups mega-success stories. Some of the technology cores and their implications on fueling creative waves in forming the third industrial revolution, through the shaping of the information era, are explained follow. Hence, these are examples of a long list of Schumpeter’s creative destruction and Clayton’s disruptive innovations forming the information age.
Transistor driving creative waves of destruction and forming the Silicon Valley
In the quest to find a solid-state switch for replacing electrotechnical one, three scientists at the Bell laboratories invented the Transistor in 1947. Subsequently, they also won the Nobel prize in 1956 in physics. However, unlike the steam engine, internal combustion engine, or electricity, Transistor did not wait for decades to fuel creative waves to transform innovations offered by the second industrial revolution.
Within five years of its invention, Sony took the license, from Bell Labs in 1952, for producing and advancing Transistor technology. Subsequently, within three years, Sony embarked on changing the technology core of the Radio. It replaced the vacuum tube technology core of the second industrial revolution with Transistor and released pocked Radio in 1955. However, like many other technologies, transistors also emerged in primitive form. Hence, Sony’s Transistor radio was also primitive. Fortunately, Transistor was highly amenable to improvement. Finally, Sony’s rigorous R&D led to making Radios and TVs made out of Transistors far better and cheaper within the next 15 years. In the end, it culminated in the accelerated diffusion of these two remarkable innovations. Besides, electronics behemoths like RCA could not stand up with the upsurge of the creative waves of destruction unleashed by Sony through Transistor refinement and innovations.
Staring the chain reaction for forming the Silicon Valley
On the other hand, one of the Transistor inventing team members, Dr. Shockley embarked on the journey of exploring the commercial opportunity of this remarkable invention. Hence, in 1956, he left Bell Labs and went to his hometown in California to pursue a startup mission—Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. Through a series of events, Dr. Shockley’s move led to the start of a chain reaction forming an economic miracle—Silicon Valley. Besides, Silicon’s amenability to progression and advancement of processing technologies led to no end of making Transistor smaller, better, and cheaper—giving birth to Moore’s law. Besides, the elegance of Transistors in fueling creative waves in the information space created endless demand for it. Hence, it triggered the startup rush and venture capital funds in Silicon Valley.
Microprocessors and personal computers are distinctive features of the third industrial revolution
The invention of the Microprocessor in collaboration of Japanese BusiCom and America’s Intel formed a new technology core for fueling creative waves in 1971. Although the Microprocessor is made out of Transistor, its role emerged as a unique technology core. Besides, the successive release of Microprocessors by Intel and others created an innovation boom. Among them, the notable one is the emergence of the Personal Computer in the early 1980s. In fact, Both Apple and IBM used Microprocessors for their flagship personal computers (PC). Hence, PC’s creative wave grew, expanding the computer’s reach and disrupting mini and mainframe computer industries. Furthermore, Software innovation running on PC also caused destruction to many industrial innovations of the first and second industrial revolutions. Among them, a notable one is the typewriter.
e-mail and Internet are at the core of the information era of the third industrial revolution
In the early 1990s, the trend of connecting PC among themselves and with larger computer systems started to unfold. Subsequently, it led to connecting PCs with the Internet. One of the popular applications was e-mail. The popularity of e-mail rapidly grew, causing destruction to our letter-writing habit and postal services. Even it made service of telegram and even Fax redundant. Furthermore, PCs on every desk, and connected through Internet, led to business process reengineering. Hence, it brought significant transformation in office work and service delivery.
Mobile communication and Smartphones—creating waves of creative destruction
The user end device of a mobile phone used to weigh 40 kg in 1956. It used the vacuum tube technology of the second industrial revolution. Hence, innovators started using silicon chips in replacing vacuum tubes for making them better and also cheaper. This journey led to Motorola’s Dynatac in the 1980s–weighing only 2lbs, far less than 40Kg. Besides, the continued advancement of Silicon processing has led to making mobile phones increasingly better and also cheaper. Consequentially, this creative wave has unfolded as ubiquitous cellular service, mobile handset in the hands of billions, and destruction to landline services. Besides, it has unfolded the creative wave of destruction of Smartphones. Finally, smartphones and ubiquitous mobile Internet have formed a new technology core. Hence, for taking advantage of this technology, a new startup rush has been unfolding across the world for transferring content and services to the digital space.
Image sensors fueled a creative wave of destruction and exploded image content
In 1969, George Smith and Willard Boyle invented a solid-state image sensor at Bell Labs. Upon taking license, Sony embarked on a long R&D journey to fuel a creative wave of destruction. This journey culminated in changing the technology core of the camera and causing destruction to the film-based camera and its inventor Kodak. Besides, digital camera integration with mobile phones has taken the digital image wave to everyone’s hand. It has become instrumental in creating an information boom, both in social, business, and industrial spaces. In fact, Smartphone with a digital camera is the single largest source of information.
Sensors and programable logic controllers transforming manufacturing
Sensors, Actuators, and microprocessors in the form of the programmable logic controller (PLC) have emerged as a powerful technology core in industrial automation. It has been powering the creative wave in the production line and mass production. The PLC’s waves of innovation have taken over the second industrial revolution’s electromechanical control systems. It has turned production processes into smart factories.
Microcontrollers, sensors, and smart devices –makes dump product smart in the age of the third industrial revolution
More or less every product, starting from microwave oven to washing machine, has multiple sensors and microcontrollers. Innovators are developing software running on those microcontrollers to read data from sensors and take control measures turning dumb devices into smart ones. It has fueled a creative wave in the form of incremental innovation for uplifting more or less all innovations of the second and first industrial revolutions. Moreover, there has been a race in sustaining innovations through incremental advancement in making them smarter.
Slid state memory transforming the information storage industry
In the information age, the storage of data itself has become a challenge. In fact, the electromechanical technology of the 2nd industrial revolution is no longer sufficient to meet storage innovation needs. Hence, transistor and Silicon processing progression have led to solid-state memory in addressing the need, causing disruption to the magnetic disk drive business. On this front, in 1984, Toshiba invented solid-state memory called NAND Flash. It has already unfolded as a major creative wave in the data storage industry.
Industrial robots and Automation
Continued advancement of sensors, microprocessors, and software has made industrial robots increasingly more powerful, flexible, and less costly. Hence, there has been a growing race in deploying robots to improve precision, reduce wastage, and lower production cost. In fact, this technology wave has been unfolding competitiveness waves across the world.
LED and energy-efficient lighting—emerges at the fag end of the third industrial revolution
Filament technology for light bulb innovation was one of the key achievements of the advent of the 2nd industrial revolution. The leveraging of Transistor and silicon technology led to the invention of Light-emitting diode technology. At the fag end of the third industrial revolution, innovators have used LED to change the technology core of the light bulb. It has led to offering us an energy-efficient, more durable lighting solution. Besides, this creative wave has also disrupted the lighting business of Edison’s GE.
Cloud computing, monopolization, and data privacy issues in the information age
The explosion of data has led to the consolation of it in a central location. This has culminated in the uprising of the cloud computing concept. Access devices like smartphones or laptop computers store and share data through cloud-based storage platforms. Due to scale advantage, the cloud platform is now increasingly monopolized by a few global players. Hence, it has been creating new concerns of monopolization, information security, and data privacy issue.
Software for monopolization and disruption
The past two industrial revolutions were based on creative waves out of tangible technologies. However, software running on Silicon chips is the technology core for fueling innovation. On the one hand, innovators are focusing on transferring the role of physical devices into software. Besides, the zero cost of copying software offers high economies of scale advantage. Hence, it has been fueling monopolistic market power accumulation. Such software-centric innovations have already created several global monopolies and caused disruption to HW technology-centric businesses. One of the notable examples has been word processing software. Apart from it, Monopolization by Microsoft and disruption caused to the typewriter industry and millions of typist jobs are notable.
IoTs and Big data—sage way of the third industrial revolution
Moreover, the microcontroller, software, sensors, and wireless internet connectivity are enabling to turn many physical devices into the Internet of things (IoTs). These devices are producing real-time data and sharing them. Hence, this massive data flow by a growing number of IoTs, including smartphones, has created big data opportunities and challenges. Already creative weaves out of the insights derived from this big data have started to unfold.
Free business model as a disruptive force
In this connected information-rich world, the free business model has emerged as a powerful competition strategy. In this new world, the main product is delivered free to customers. However, revenue shows up through the advertisements. Google and Facebook are two notable examples. This business model innovation has already triggered the unfolding of destructive waves in a number of industries, including media and newspapers. Besides, they are also taking a toll on local and internal telephone services.
Technology addiction and social isolation
Apart from the waves of innovation, the uprising of innovation waves, particularly in the form of smartphones and social networking, has been creating a new concern. Innovators are developing addictive features for maximizing screen time. Particularly, teenagers and youths are forming obsessive associations with technology and making them socially isolated. This wave of innovation has been causing harm to the next generation’s creative, cognitive, and social capabilities.
Uprising of Japanese and South Korea in silicon, and the emergence of India in IT service space
The epicenter of the first industrial revolution was the UK. It gradually diffused to the rest of continental Europe and also to North America. Asia was mostly left behind. Besides, during the second industrial revolution, the epicenter changed to Germany, other parts of Western Europe, and, most importantly, the USA. However, although the technology core Transistor was invented in the USA, Japan did not waste time to step in. In addition to Sony’s success in unfolding creative waves, even causing disruption to major American firms, Japanese other firms developed a strong foothold. They acquired an edge in processing silicon, developing silicon processing equipment, and creating technology cores like flash and LED. Besides, they harnessed them in end-user-level innovations.
Apart from Japan, Taiwan and Korea have also established a strong foothold in the global Silicon industry. Furthermore, India’s success in IT service is also remarkable. Besides, the success of Malaysia, China, and Vietnam in the silicon industry is also equally remarkable. Hence, unlike in the other two industrial revolutions, Asian countries have been showing far better performance during the third industrial revolution.