It is said that modern humans have walked the planet for a period of around 200, 000 years
This figure based on the remains that have been found in Ethiopia.
During this time we as a species and as societies have been through many changes
We have risen from groups of hunter gathers to living in huge urban centers
This process is broken into ages
An age being a distinct period of history. A Time when a new development in how society functioned changed mankind forever.
We now these ages well, early human history can be divided into three ages: stone, bronze, and iron.
These three ages based on the tools that were made and used at a certain time.
The time periods between these ages are different to each society as the knowledge took time to permeate around the globe.
However we can see a pattern forming in these dates
The longest period being the Stone Age, but once the use of metals begins we see that the time between ages is reduced
And with each new development that gap in the timeline looks to follow a pattern of change arriving quicker and quicker.
This leading us to today and the modern era
The Industrial Age or Modern era is generally taken to refer to the time post-1800.
This is the time, the industrial revolution began in Western Europe.
We can then break the modern era down into periods
The early modern period began approximately in the early 16th century; notable historical milestones included the European Renaissance, the Age of Discovery, and the Protestant Reformation.
The late modern period began approximately in the mid-18th century; notable historical milestones included the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence. It took all of human history up to 1804 for the world's population to reach 1 billion; the next billion came just over a century later, in 1927
Contemporary history is the span of historic events from approximately 1945 that are immediately relevant to the present time.
This timeline was also broken down in to ages by the Hesiod a Greek author
He wrote “The Five Ages of Man”, a text describing five distinct ages of man.
He puts these AGES in the order of Gold, Silver, Bronze, Hero, and Iron which would be today.
This idea of mankind now living in a fifth age is also found in other cultures, The Hopi a Native American tribe have teachings and prophecies about this age.
Christianity teaches of the six ages of man and it is found in other religions such as Buddhism.
These teachings warn us that we face an apocalyptic future but how true are they?
The modern era the world post industrial revolution can be broken down into 4 parts
The first industrial age
Beginning in Britain in the 18th century and from there spreading to other parts of the world, the term Industrial Revolution was first popularized by the English economic historian Arnold Toynbee (1852–83) to describe Britain's economic development from 1760 to 1840.
The development of steam powered machinery drove the rapid expansion of the British Empire and kick started global modernization.
Locomotives, steamboats and steamships, hot blast iron smelting and new technologies, such as the electrical telegraph, pushing mankind quickly into the second industrial revolution.
The Second Industrial Revolution came in the early 20th century, when Henry Ford mastered the moving assembly line and ushered in the age of mass production.
A time when these new innovations including the new steel making processes and the large-scale manufacture of machined tools lead to increasingly more advanced machinery in factories.
The third revolution is well under way. Manufacturing has gone digital.
Technologies are converging: software, new materials, robots, and new processes like three-dimensional printing. Web-based sales and services. The factories of the past based on cranking out zillions of identical products today we see more individualized production almost a move back to traditional crafting but using modern methods.
The pace of development continuing to follow the ever increasing speed of change.
Some would say we are now on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution and this is when things start to get a little crazy.
The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent.
When we compare the previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace.
It is disrupting almost every industry in every country.
These changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance even what it means to be human.
Billions of people are connected by mobile devices, these devices offer an unprecedented amount processing power, huge storage capacity, and access to unlimited knowledge.
Emerging technological breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things.
Autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing all are taking their first steps into real applications.
Scientist, Engineers, and architects are using computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering, and synthetic biology to build a symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, the products we consume, and even the spaces in which we live.
These huge developments will provide massive improvements in the quality of life to some but maybe not to all.
Economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee have highlighted, the fourth revolution could cause greater inequality, and it has the potential to disrupt labor markets.
Automation substitute’s labor across the entire economy, the displacement of workers by machines might worsen.
Organizations could be unable or unwilling to adapt to these new technologies and that governments could fail to employ or regulate these technologies properly.
This creating new security concerns, inequalities could grow rather than shrink if things are not managed properly.
But these social and economic threats may well be the least of our worries.
We are entering a time when we are beginning to alter the very fabric of our being.
Technology has now made the process of gene modification a fairly simple procedure and we could see its use becoming ever more common place. The editing of genes passed on through generation’s scientist taking over from Mother Nature and steering humanity on a path they decide!
J. Craig Venter, a bio-entrepreneur whose company helped map the genome, reached a new milestone. He built the world's first synthetic, self-replicating chromosome.
He loaded some homemade synthetic DNA into a bacterial cell and watched it grow and divide.
By his own reckoning, he had created "life."
Biologists of the future will learn how to program viruses and bacteria and use them to deliver custom-made cures.
This could also be used for harm, bioterrorists engineering deadly superbugs that target us at a genetic level.
The development of robotics and AI could mean that the population they replace become surplus to the ever more powerful economic machine, these people then pushed out of society the world being split into a two cast just like the movie Elysium.
The internet of things could remove all privacy and control, access to homes given to those that provide the technologies.
The food we eat, the online content we consume the personal products we use all become public knowledge and the power to take this away from a person would almost be akin to removing them from society.
A digital presence becoming as important as, or more important than the physical.
Cyberattacks could wipe a person from existence or even turn their home against them.
AI may grow out of the ever more sophisticated online programs this might allow machines to take over the world “terminator style” deciding we’ are irrelevant and organizing our destruction.
Drones first built for fun now become ever more deadly, swarms of armed Nano-drones patrol the globe, used in policing and military capacities they are source of constant threat and surveillance.
This is at our door step today, with a convention recently held in Geneva to discuss “lethal autonomous weapons systems”
The fourth industrial revolution may see us change more than just ourselves and society. We may alter the planet significantly.
Geoengineering may become common.
Science and technology used to "hack" the planet
Global warming continues, scientists create ways to artificially cool the atmosphere.
Blocking the sun's rays or sucking up excess CO2.
Spraying chemical aerosols like sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to bounce a fraction of sunlight back into space
Pouring iron into the ocean to spur algae blooms that consume CO2
Spraying a mist of seawater into low-lying clouds to make them brighter, reflecting more sunlight
Planting forests of artificial trees that use chemical reactions to absorb and store CO2
Messing with planet could end up causing more problems than it solves.
But as with any of the previous industrial revolutions, it will fall on us to navigate a path that is best for all.
If we succeed the benefits could be mind-blowing we could be entering a world that has only been imagined in the realms of Science fiction.
Maybe we will finally take to stars and populate other planets.
So IF humanity makes it through the forth revolution and the world is now a very different place what could we see if we look at the fifth revolution?
What kind of world could that offer us?
What are your thoughts on this, do you think we will survive the fourth industrial revolution, what do you think the fifth will offer us?
Let me know in the comments below