The Dystopian “Fourth Industrial Revolution” Will Be Very Different from the First One
The Dystopian “Fourth Industrial Revolution” Will Be Very Different from the First One by Antony Mueller for Activist Post
If one takes the publications of the World Economic Forum (WEF) as an indication of how the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” will change society, the world is facing a massive onslaught against individual liberty and private property. A new kind of collectivism is about to emerge. Like the communism of the past, the new project appeals to the public with the assurance of technological advancement and social inclusion. Additionally, ecological sustainability and the promise of longevity or even immortality are used to entice the public. In reality, however, these promises are deeply dystopian.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
According to Klaus Schwab, the founder and current executive chairman of the WEF, the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (2016) represents a new stage of the disruptive technological advances that began toward the end of the eighteenth century with the textile industry and the use of steam power. The Second Industrial Revolution took place in the decades before and after 1900. It created a plethora of new consumer goods and production technologies that allowed mass production. The third Industrial Revolution began around 1950 with the breakthroughs in digital technologies. Now, according to Klaus Schwab, the fourth Industrial Revolution means that the world is moving toward “a true global civilization.”
The fourth Industrial Revolution provides the potential “to robotize humanity, and thus compromise our traditional sources of meaning—work, community, family, identity.” Schwab predicts that the fourth Industrial Revolution will “lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness.”
Transhumanism is part of the transformation that comes with the fourth Industrial Revolution, as artificial intelligence (AI) will surpass even the best human performances at specific tasks. The new technologies “will not stop at becoming part of the physical world around us—they will become part of us, Schwab declares.
In the foreword to Schwab’s book, Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (2018), the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, states that the evolution of the new technologies “is entirely within our power.” Microsoft and the other high-tech companies “are betting on the convergence of several important technology shifts—mixed reality, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.”
Satya Nadella informs readers that Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and IBM will cooperate in an AI partnership that will work to develop and test the technology in fields such as “automobiles and healthcare, human-AI collaboration, economic displacement, and how AI can be used for social good.”
In the preface to his book, Klaus Schwab predicts that the fourth Industrial Revolution will “upend the existing ways of sensing, calculating, organizing, acting and delivering.” He states that “the negative externalities” of the present global economy harm “the natural environment and vulnerable populations.”
The changes that come with the new technologies will be comprehensive and will topple “the way we produce and transport goods and services.” The revolution will upset how “we communicate, the way we collaborate, and the way we experience the world around us.” The change will be so profound that the advances in neurotechnologies and biotechnologies “are forcing us to question what it means to be human.”
Like Satya Nadella’s foreword, Schwab’s text reiterates several times the claim that the “evolution of the fourth Industrial Revolution” is “entirely within our power” when “we” use the “window of opportunity” and drive for “empowerment.” The “we” that both authors speak of is the global technocratic elite that calls for central control and state interventionism (called “shaping the future”) in a new system that is characterized by intimate cooperation between business and government, or, more specifically between high tech and a handful of key states.