Third industrial revolution: characteristics, inventions, and consequences of the third technological revolution

Third industrial revolution: characteristics, inventions, and consequences of the third technological revolution

Throughout the history of humanity, significant technological innovations have been developed that are applied to improve production systems, in order to facilitate people’s work. The arrival of the third technological revolution in the 20th century translated into a transcendental process of transformations in almost all areas of society, which had been unfolding following the patterns of the predecessor revolution. Are you interested in knowing what the third industrial revolution is? Well, we offer you all the information related to the subject, emphasizing the different concepts of the third industrial revolution, its history, characteristics, inventions, and consequences of this outstanding historical stage.

Information of interest about the third technological revolution

A complete conceptual map of the industrial revolution can show the three moments or stages that this field has experienced throughout history. As the central theme of this article is industry 3.0, we bring theoretical and interesting details of this third historical phase, without forgetting the influences that it took from the periods preceding this evolutionary process, as could well show some scheme of the industrial revolution that you can find online.

What is the third industrial revolution?

The third industrial revolution or third technological revolution is the name given to the process of changes that have become notable in the world, responding to advances in technological and scientific matters that have been generated, more than anything, in favor of guiding society to use new forms of communication and energy, which means a gradual replacement of the technologies that emerged in the first two industrial revolutions in history and adapting to the new needs of today’s society and the sectors where it operates.

The time period in which the third industrial revolution has developed

Although there is no precision in determining the emergence of the third industrial revolution, the American sociologist Jeremy Rifkin, a prominent intellectual and one of the promoters of the conception of the third industrial revolution, guided his studies on the subject based on the historical transformation, economic, social and technological seen in the world from the second half of the 20th century.

The set of ideas raised around the third technological revolution was formally endorsed in 2006 by the European Parliament, followed by other relevant organizations and institutions in the world, given the progress of society that responds to innovations.

Although many specialists refer to the fact that the third industrial revolution is still latent today, other scholars on the matter have emphasized the appearance of new technological advances that would be framed in the fourth revolution of this type, which would be the one that would be taking place in the world in the present tense.

Dimensions involved in the third technological revolution

Although a complete synoptic table of the industrial revolution can show that the greatest incidence of transformations in these stages occurs mainly in the industry sector, in the case of the third industrial revolution, the advances are evident in the fields of technology. and energy, due to the concern of these disciplines regarding the consequences that the revolutions that preceded this current period have left in the world.

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Historical tour of the third industrial revolution

An infographic of the industrial revolution would not be complete if its historical data is not included. Therefore, it is essential to do this review to know in a summarized way what the three industrial revolutions are, the development of revolution 3.0, and the links that have been established between the second and third industrial revolutions.

If we briefly break down a conceptual map of the industrial revolution, it can be seen that its first stage was based on the invention of the machine and its incorporation into the industrial sector, thus seeking improvement and speed within the production of goods.

From this first wave of transformations that arose between 1760 and 1840, other technological and scientific innovations were developed with a view to perfecting not only the productive system of the industry but also solving different problems present within the economic and social aspects.

Thus, the second industrial revolution brought to the world at the end of the 19th century, the incorporation of non-renewable energy sources such as electricity, oil, and gas, which would come to replace the use of coal, inherited from the time of the first revolution. . Similarly, the appearance of means of transportation such as the automobile, the railway, and the steamboat, as well as the invention of means of communication such as the telegraph and the telephone, became the main milestones that marked this second phase of transformations.

It is well known that, along with the technological and scientific development oriented to the industrial field, it also had an influence on other sectors of society, as can be seen in its impact on the media in the industrial revolution, which in its three stages had important discoveries and inventions related to this aspect.

Origin of the third industrial revolution

It was not until the second half of the 20th century, coinciding with the end of the Second World War, that in some Western European countries, the United States, and Japan, the third stage of progress in economic and social matters took place, sustained in technological and scientific innovations.

The main technologies of the third industrial revolution were oriented to the field of information and communication and the search for sustainable and renewable energies, as a result of society’s concern about the damage that, until then, the environment had suffered, in the face of the contamination of the old and traditional sources of energy derived from the previous revolutions.


Another of the direct causes that drove the advance of the third industrial revolution was the emergence of a deep economic and energy crisis that worsened at the end of the 20th century, which led to the search for alternatives that would allow remedying the effects of this global problem. . It is there when the contributions of the also economist Jeremy Rifkin are taken into account, obeying the growing information society, a paradigm emerged before the technological advances of that context.

Within a document written by Rikfin called The Third Industrial Revolution: How the Internet, Green Electricity, and 3D Printers are Ushering in an Era of Distributed Capitalism, the so-called pillars of this revolution are laid out:

  1. The shift toward greater use of renewable energy
  2. Adequacy of buildings worldwide responding to the transition to renewable energy generation
  3. Development of rechargeable batteries from hydrogen, also considering other forms of energy storage
  4. Promotion of an intelligent electrical network that allows this service to be delivered in a similar way to an internet connection
  5. Development of means of transport driven by the new energy sources of the third industrial revolution, mainly through renewable electricity offered in charging stations and through alternative fuel batteries.

Despite the fact that several countries around the world continue to follow the approaches of the North American intellectual to execute his proposals, other specialists have affirmed that this transformation model has been surpassed by what many call the fourth industrial revolution, a stage based on the implementation of artificial intelligence. , the creation of smart devices, the incorporation of the internet of things, and big data.

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Main characteristics of the 3rd industrial revolution

As in the previous stages, the third technological revolution has some features that allow us to characterize this phase of innovations for society. Among the aspects and characteristics of the third industrial revolution, we have:

Renewable energy

The increase in the price of traditional energy items, generated mainly from the oil crisis of the 70s and 80s, motivated the search for alternative sustainable and renewable fuels and energies, opening up other options within this field.

This would also be due to the growing concern that was generated as a result of the polluting effects that petroleum-derived fuels had generated on the environment.

Promotion of new forms of communication

The emergence of the internet caused the development of innovations in communications and telecommunications based on this great discovery, in order to provide the population with instant access to information.


The appearance of the internet brought as a consequence the interdependence of world society in all its aspects. Thus, what affected one country had positive or negative effects on another, as a result of real-time communication transmitted by means that provided real-time access based on the Internet.

Improvement in production automation

One of the main characteristics of industry 3.0 is the improvement of the assembly line that had been promoted mainly during the second industrial revolution, incorporating the new technologies that brought with them the automation of the productive system through machines managed by these innovations, which would be included in all factories and industries worldwide.

A new type of trade

The information and communication technologies of the third industrial revolution brought with it the so-called electronic commerce, which had a strong development by offering products, goods, and services over the Internet, giving impetus to a new economic activity of great relevance.

The emergence of social movements

The third technological revolution was also welcomed within the social sphere, with movements and organizations that influenced the decisions of this third stage. Here the different ecological movements and defenders of the environment took center stage, a feminism that sought greater independence for women and promoted that they are taken into account in the labor sector, and the different pacifist currents that emerged, above all, after the end of the Second World War.

Outstanding inventions of the third industrial revolution

When seeing images of the industrial revolution in all its stages, the first thing that is noticed is the set of innovations generated in these phases, where all the best of the scientific-technological advances of their context have been applied and that have allowed these stages to be periodized. in favor of productive improvement, seeking economic stability, and providing a better quality of life in society.

In the case of the inventions of the industrial revolution in its third stage, the following stand out:

New energy sources

Looking for alternatives to remedy the polluting effects of traditional and primitive fuels, the third industrial revolution gave impetus to the exploitation of new energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydraulic, and nuclear. On the other hand, following Rifkin’s ideas, infrastructure was developed for the storage and generation of these energy sources.

New energy sources

Wind energy is among sustainable and renewable energy sources. Jürgen from SandesnebenCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Cropping, toning, and resolution of the original).

Means of transport

In response to the previous initiative, the production of means of transport whose propulsion would be carried out by these alternative energy sources was proposed, as a way to replace vehicles that use petroleum derivatives for their operation. Thus, for example, electric vehicles, other renewable energies, and even autonomous vehicles have been developed, that is, they move without the need to be driven by the hand man.

Means of transport

Electric car models at charging stations. Car2Go Amsterdam Smart EDCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Cropping, toning, and resolution enhancement from original.)


Undoubtedly, the network of networks has been the main invention of the third industrial revolution, completely displacing the old information technology, television. Since its appearance, Internet access has been generated in a large part of the world’s population for instant access to information, also being the main foundation for new forms of communication such as social networks. Similarly, the internet has also served as the basis for the emergence of smart technological innovations.

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Chemistry boost

This stage has also been known as the third chemical revolution, due to the boom in this industrial sector for the production of materials and resources necessary for the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. A good example of this is the products used to improve the crop, such as fertilizers and soda, and, in textiles, the dyeing of artificial fibers.

Third industrial revolution

Plane spreading pesticide produced by the petrochemical industry, for use in agriculture. Charles O’Rear, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

The positive and negative consequences of the industrial revolution in its third stage

Like its predecessor stages, the third technological revolution has had favorable and unfavorable consequences for society and the world. Let’s see what they are:

The positive consequences of the industrial revolution in its third phase

Like any advance that is generated for the benefit of the world, the third technological revolution has had important consequences that have been transcendental for the progress of all areas where society operates.

Innovations in the field of medicine

New technologies oriented to the use and expansion of the Internet throughout the world have been used to improve various sectors of society. One of the most outstanding has been medicine, since, through Internet access, timely information can be obtained when a disease or illness is suspected, as well as, in the case of remote places, the use of telemedicine has been essential for doctors to treat patients who live in locations that are difficult to access or far from hospital centers.

Efficient communication

Another sector with significant changes is that of communication, with means that allow the world to be connected almost instantly.

Unemployment Reduction

Through the Internet, new employment opportunities have arisen for people around the world, which allows the reduction of unemployment considerably.

Environmentally aware society

The third industrial revolution brought with it a clear ecological awareness, which is why many families joined practices that were friendly to the environment, either through the use of new energy sources, having their own orchards in their homes, or simply, reducing pollution.

Negative consequences of the third industrial revolution

Despite offering a complete transformation that would mark the future of world society, the truth is that many of the issues addressed within the third technological revolution have not yet been developed in practice

Increased social inequality

In some countries, the less favored population does not have full access to the internet, to new sources of sustainable energy (due to the high cost of installing energy storage of this type), and to many other privileges offered in this third technological stage.

Transport in the process of development and commercialization

Although one of the five pillars of the third industrial revolution is related to the development of means of transport powered by renewable energies, the truth is that even today many of these vehicles are still in the design phase, in prototype form, or in full development. developing.

The use of non-renewable energy continues

Currently, fossil fuels and those from non-renewable sources continue to be the most used, due to the high costs involved in the installation and generation of sustainable energy sources, even being considered controversial, as is the case of nuclear energy.

The third industrial revolution is nothing more than the continuation and progress that world society has had in its constant search to improve its quality of life and facilitate its development, progressively replacing not only the models established in the economic sphere, but also having an influence in the political, economic, social and cultural sectors. Today, many have believed that the third technological revolution has culminated, without first leaving outstanding contributions to a new stage, where the implementation of artificial intelligence in various areas of daily life stands out.



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