Contemporary Great Power Technological Competitive Factors in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

By T.X. Hammes and Diane DiEuliis Institute for National Strategic Studies


In this chapter, we do not attempt to deal with all the technologies driving the fourth industrial revolution; instead, we focus only on those that will most directly impact GPC, economic potential, and international trade in the short term: robotics, AI, 3D printing, energy, and biotechnology. The chapter also considers two important factors essential to U.S. efforts to exploit new technologies: current immigration policy and research and development (R&D) investments.

Although we discuss each of these technologies individually, it is the combination of them in new ways that will revolutionize the global economy. For instance, the first industrial revolution is often referred to as steam driven, but steam had to be combined with improved steel production, new manufacturing techniques, the telegraph, and other technologies both new and old to create the railroads that revolutionized trade and production. While space limitations forced us to select only a few of the technologies driving today’s revolution, readers should keep in mind that the others are essential to enabling the chosen technologies (for instance, advances in material science are essential to advances in the chosen technologies). READ MORE>>>