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The Fourth Industrial Revolution: a seductive idea requiring critical engagement

- Ruth Castel-Branco and Hannah J. Dawson

Narrative frames are fundamental to unifying ideologies. They frame what is possible and impossible, which ideas can be accepted and which must be rejected.

In her book, Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics, storyteller and political analyst Nanjala Nyabola examines the framing of the Fourth Industrial Revolution narrative in this light.

She argues that it is being used by global elites to deflect from the drivers of inequality and enable ongoing processes of expropriation, exploitation and exclusion. During a recent policy dialogue on the Future of Work(ers) she commented:

The real seduction of this idea is that it’s apolitical. We can talk about development and progress, without having to grapple with power.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution’s chief ideologue is Karl Schwab, chair of the World Economic Forum who published an influential book by the same name. In it he argues that digital innovations are transforming the ways in which people live, work and relate to one other. These include artificial intelligence and robotics, quantum cloud computing and block chain technology.

Read the full article on The Conversation 

This article was first published in The Conversation 

Seipati Mokhema, an Associate Researcher with the Future of Work(ers), contributed to this article.