The aim of this paper is to reassess the current view of current technological trends adopting an historical perspective on previous industrial revolution. In our interpretation, the historical record provides some suggestive evidence for a more sceptical view of the notion of an emerging “fourth” industrial revolution. Indeed, even at an impressionistic glance, the recent developments in AI, communication and robotics that are marked as the core of the fourth industrial revolution, appear as a rather natural prolongation of the ICT macro-trajectories described in this paper. At the same time, in order to study the relation between technology and labour, we depict the plant as a preferential context to briefly look at the complex interaction between management systems, labour process and technological innovation. In this sense, we consider two Internet of Things’ technologies in order to underline the persistence of a specific element characterizing capitalist mode of production, that is the exertion of control over workers. Consistently, we envisage a continuity between emerging management practices and previous management systems, especially referring to the ones adopted during ICT revolution.