Your public school education exists, in large part, thanks to the Second Industrial Revolution. When the revolution took hold of America in the 1870s, 30 years after the end of the first, half of the US population still spent their days toiling in fields. Education was typically voluntary, assuming the family was wealthy enough to afford tutors or school fees, and usually reserved for boys. With the development of commercial fertilizer and the internal combustion engine, productivity exploded while the number of farmers dropped to less than two percent of the population. It lessened the demand for child labor which in turn led to increased support for compulsory education for both sexes.
"The government at the time recognized [the need for public education]," TIm Weber, Global Head of 3D Printing and Advanced Applications at HP, told Engadget. "Basically to uplift the skills of people in the United States to adapt to an industrial revolution."
The world is currently in the midst of its 4th Industrial Revolution -- one driven by information and automation. As with previous revolutions, today's technological advancements are threatening to upend established industry and labor practices through overwhelming productivity increases. Artificial Intelligence and machine-learning systems are not just fundamentally shifting the ways we interact with computers and data, they're also changing how we'll manufacture the modern world.