Beware of the Bot: A critical perspective on the 4IR

THEME: Mobilising for socio, economic and political campaigns

TITLE:  Beware of the Bot: A critical perspective on the 4IR

PUBLISHED BY: Centre for Integrated Post-School Education and Training (CIPSET), Nelson Mandela University

WHO IS THIS FOR: The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is gaining global attention as the ‘new phase’ of development that will address a wide range of social and economic issues in societies. Like its predecessors, the 4IR is portrayed as the new era that offers opportunities to improve human lives, lead the world out of crises and toward a better future for humankind. The 4IR is associated with disruptive technologies including robotics, the internet, nanotechnologies, genomics artificial intelligence, virtual reality and many other technologies.

Many activists, scholars and critics have raised critical questions about the promises of the 4IR. Is the 4IR simply the next phase of capitalist production or an epochal shift? Can it address the triadic problems of inequality, unemployment and poverty? How can it deal with the issues of race, class and gender? How will it address the ecological crisis and global warming? These are some of the key questions raised. This booklet has been written to encourage debate amongst students and communities and to inspire much greater public debate about the 4IR, its meaning and value in contributing to a better society.

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Beware of the Bot: A critical perspective on the 4IR