Are We At The Dawn Of The New Industrial Revolution?

Several colleagues I’ve been speaking with have suggested that recent events put us at the dawn of a new industrial revolution. And if you see the factors that contributed to The Industrial Revolution back then, it’s easy to see why they may have a real point. Let’s look at the evidence.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, there was a crisis of overproduction. Suddenly, there was too much of, well, everything. But where did this overproduction come from?

With the benefit of hindsight, we can now say that this was the period of The Industrial Revolution in which certain technologies reached a certain level of maturity. It moved us seamlessly from a time when people walked behind a plow with an ox pulling it to a period when dramatically more powerful tractors could be purchased reasonably.

At the end of the 1920s, electric motor vehicles were in ample supply and many people understood how to use them. New factories were built to dramatically speed up production and meet demand, utilizing conveyors and other tech advancements.

Well, they did more than meet the demand. They blew right by it. It’s no wonder. In a world where there are always new things to consume, advancing technologies designed to meet that demand can exceed it, causing overproduction and oversupply of products. Reflecting this oversupply, prices begin to go down and stock markets reflect that the profitability of producing products is moving sharply down.

History May Be Repeating Itself With Machine Learning

For one, let’s talk about programming and imagine you have a team of 500 people dedicated to writing code and deploying scripts in a controlled environment. We’re far beyond the age of a programmer simply writing Java code to have a widget on the screen. Still, several machine learning models can work with any programming language and take on virtually any problem.

Let’s say that the same team of 500 people is working on various projects that should take three months, six months, a year, etc. Presumably, these numerous projects with different timelines will create a particular backlog that your people need to work through.

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Meanwhile, a whole new slate of projects arrives.

Suddenly, you’re caught between a rock and a hard place, weighing the cost of working on the backlogged projects and the benefit of doing so against new projects that have come along and need to be dealt with. What priority comes first?

The answer isn’t necessarily to choose between the projects but to rapidly and profoundly change how we work using models such as Microsoft Copilot.

If Microsoft Copilot is offered to a variety of users or even mandated to every user, the next thing that will happen will be that some people will start figuring out how to use it better. If those who figure out how to use such tools better become much more productive, we will have a new, different kind of problem: How can we get everybody to be much more productive?

In our next Talman Tidbit, we’ll dive deeper into three different scenarios that my colleagues and I have discussed that could occur in the next three years if we are indeed at the dawn on a new Industrial Revolution. It could have great implications for the way you hire in the years to come.

No matter what economic scenario come to fruition, you’re always going to want to make sure you Talk To Talman First. Our ability at Roy Talman & Associates over the last several decades to help top companies plan, identify and screen for the very best of the best technical talent can position you for what’s coming and in the events where the world pivots. The finest companies in the financial and technology space trust us as their partner. Maybe it’s time you learned why you should join them.