What’s wrong with the Fourth Industrial Revolution


    Ozayr Patel, Digital Editor, The Conversation


    The “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is a term coined in 2016 by German economist Klaus Schwab. It’s used to describe the technology revolution that the world is going through. But there is growing criticism, particularly in the global south, of how it’s framed. Many are questioning whether it should be considered a revolution at all.

    The Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to one view, is a very simplistic narrative that advances a distinct political agenda. It is a kind of exploitation that is being sold as progress. The narrative is being advanced to achieve a specific economic outcome – at the expense of many people in the global south.

    Many innovations are happening in the digital technological space. But do they reorganise production and social relations, or do they just entrench past forms of inequality?

    Consider the case of the ride-hailing app Uber. It may sound like enticing work for drivers, but there’s more to it. Drivers may face bad working conditions, penalties and other challenges without the security of human resources behind them.

    In this episode of Pasha, Ruth Castel-Branco, manager of the Future of Work(ers) research project at the University of the Witwatersrand, joins Nanjala Nyabola, a storyteller and political analyst, in taking us through the seductive idea of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

    Main photo byPete Linforth on Pixabay.

    Photo “A smartphone attached to the dash on a vent holder in a moving Uber car. The Uber App shows the route in Cape Town map.” by maurodopereira, found on Shutterstock.

    Music “Happy African Village” by John Bartmann, found on licensed under CC0 1.

    “African Moon” by John Bartmann, found on licensed under CC0 1.

    Charles Telfair Centre is an independent nonpartisan not for profit organisation and does not take specific positions. All views, positions, and conclusions expressed in our publications are solely those of the author(s).

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