From the Editor
It is a beautiful, sunny day.
Before going out, I check my favourite weather App, which gives all sort of weather information, including the amount of UV rays I could be exposed to, while another App I have tells me the most suitable sun protection I need after scanning my skin – just an everyday common situation of life 4.0..
The term "Industry 4.0" was coined in 2011 – ages ago already in this fast-paced world - at the Hannover Fair when the physicists Henning Kagermann, Wolf-Dieter Lukas and the artificial intelligence researcher Wolfgang Wahlster pronounced it for the first time while presenting the Zukunftprojekt Industrie 4.0, a project for the future of German industry based on a revolutionary investment and development programme that makes use of new technologies and that will involve all industry sectors – in short, we could call it the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
This follows the First Industrial Revolution occurred in England in 1760, the Second in 1870, the Third starts in 1970 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution we are experiencing today, with the key protagonist: the "internet" which has made the impossible real.
Today we are globally connected with the world 24 hours a day.
Artificial intelligence blows life into hardware and software in symbiosis with the web dimension.
The latest generation of “smart” appliances we can have today is a good example of how closely knitted internet and artificial intelligence are.
The world of personal care and beauty is making the most of this progress.
It has been some time already that we have available sophisticated devices such as skin scanners that can tell the state your skin is, as well as online platforms and apps which can interact one with the other to help end users in choosing the best products for their skin.
All this increasingly leads to the customisation of cosmetics. It might sound futuristic, but it is actually happening now, thanks to the massive efforts of a very dynamic personal care industry, where the big brands are partnering with innovative start-ups to perform research and development that can offer tailored solutions to end users.
Though an interesting novelty, we should keep in mind that customisation is made possible by the enormous amount of data that, all of us being connected round the clock, we generate and share with apps and websites, sometimes without really realising it, to receive tailored offers and deals – user profiling being indeed one of the key processes that makes industry 4.0 work.
Sometimes I wonder what is the use of the hundreds of consents we give each day to privacy policies over the internet! Should we start worrying about our personal information being exploited?
Indeed, sometimes you really do have the feeling that we live a life that is “monitored”.
Was George Orwell actually right?
To a certain extent, probably yes.
We are now deep into the Covid era. This still-difficult-to-realise menace is changing all aspects of our life today. The drama this emergency has cast all over the world has drawn out huge resilience in people and is greatly accelerating that technological progress that had been presented at the Hannover Fair in 2011.
As for the cosmetics industry, there is no doubt that new technologies, product customisation and improved distribution thanks to the fast-growing web-based sales have allowed the sector to produce remarkable results.
In conclusion, a somewhat science fiction future seems to await us. However, being optimistic, unlike many others, I do not think that industry 4.0 will mean giving up the human element and thus, brutally said, lead to unemployment.
New skills are being formed and will be required, thus creating new jobs in a revolutionised labour market.
Is this going to be Industry 5.0?
Obviously enough, I do not know.
What I do know is that the commitment and the resources put in the field are enormous.
I would like to express how grateful I am to all those people that work all the time to keep my skin protected and my heart light as I stroll around on this beautiful sunny day.