The idea of Industrie 4.0 first entered the political blood stream in the halls of the Hannover Messe — the world’s largest industrial fair — five years ago. Now smart phone ownership has risen sharply both in the United States and the European Union. Self-driving eighteen-wheelers are trundling down German autobahns. And innovations like the industrial Internet, automation, big data, sensor technology, fintech, and the “Internet of things” are rewiring our world.
We are not simply entering a fourth phase of the industrial revolution. We are at the beginning of a brand new digital age.
The digital economy has already become a key driver of US and European economic growth. In 2013, the information and communications sector was responsible for 22 percent of all new jobs in the OECD region.