Intelligent computer systems will replace human-operated jobs in certain fields to create the next industrial revolution, experts claim.

In a debate hosted recently by ClickSoftware, a panel of four specialists spoke about the future of technology and how automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will impact different industries going forward.

One of those present, AI architect and author George Zarkadakis, said it’s important that AI is taken seriously as it will “change the world in ways we can’t predict now”, and that this shift will essentially be the “fourth industrial revolution”.

The first industrial revolution is considered to be the mechanisation of production using water and steam power, followed by the second, which introduced electric-powered mass production. The third, which we’re experiencing now, is the use of technology to further automate production processes.

Adding to Zarkadakis’ comments, Dan O’Hara, a cognitive computing professor at Goldsmiths University of London, said the next step will result in the hollowing out of middle-income and medium-skilled jobs – adding to the manual labour tasks that are being replaced at present.

According to, he goes on to say: “The industries that will be affected the most from a replacement with automation are construction, accounts and transport.”

The panel also touched on the impact AI and automation could yet have on the retail and sales industry, suggesting companies will look to technology to help them reduce workforce sizes and cut costs.