CEO Club Briefing

Fourth Industrial Revolution

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College Chief Executives Club  

November 28, 2017


If you think you have a lot of data now, you'll probably have 1,000 times more in five years, because the granularity of the data sources is changing. The bandwidth is improving. Think about video data. Video goes from 2K to 4K to 8K. The frames per second is increasing from 24, 48, 60 frames, 90 frames. Then you go to the two dimensions, three dimensions, 360, virtual reality. There's just incredible amounts of data.

And then you look at the number of connected smart things. There have been over 100 billion microprocessors sold in the last four years. This isn't like a projection. They're already out there. Most of them are not connected to anything, but increasingly the cost of these sensors is approaching zero dollars, so everything’s getting connected, everything’s becoming intelligent. That's creating this explosion of data. Then the challenge is, how do you use that data in real time to make a better product, a better service, a better outcome? Firms are really just at the beginning of this. But it's setting up the foundation for a kind of Fourth Industrial Revolution. And I think companies, organizations that figure out how to use this data.

You're saying the Fourth Industrial Revolution is going to be based on data?

It'll be based on all this instrumentation, the data, the artificial intelligence, the connectivity, but the data becomes more and more valuable as you get the computational power. And then you can—you know, you have to also think about kind of reimagining what your business does, because there will be combinatorial inventions where you take different parts of new things—right now I have all this bandwidth, now I have all this data, now something is smart and intelligent and it can operate autonomously. Well, see, now we have a new product. So, you'll see lots of those kind of combinatorial inventions in technology.