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Beyond revolution, evolution -4IR

30 June 2019

Klaus Schwab coined the term fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). As the founder and chair of the World Economic Forum, Schwab’s experience and knowledge led him to declare that the current system is in the midst of an unprecedented transformation, a disruption. The 4th such transition suggests that all systems reach a turning point.

At a seminar at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria, South Africa discussed Africa’s 4th industrial revolution: endless opportunities. Researchers, academics among others shared their thoughts with a panel chaired by Ottilia Anna Mauganidze – Head of Special Projects at the ISS and speakers, Dr Martyn Davies of Deloitte, Dr Jong-dae Park, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to South Africa and Marius Oosthuizen GIBS Business School.

Wages, jobs, employers, income are all being re-defined. Automation and robotics has not led to significant job losses in Korea, where the transition is focussing on societal impact and the interaction with new technology. Having lifted itself out of underdevelopment to be ranked 10th on the list of most advanced countries, Korea is considered to be at the cutting edge in Bio Technology and Artificial Intelligence among others.

Consumerism, money, manufacturing and production are undergoing changes that seem to be evolutionary. There may be a byte or two to be salvaged.

The lessons learned is that financial innovation is not the way out of a failed system as more people are opting to move off the grid. They are seeking out and finding alternative sources of energy and water sources, recycling and reusing. Many people have also started vegetable, herb and fruit gardens as they aim to become self-sufficient gaining knowledge and sharing information on the digital social networks.

In terms of the 4IR, the first is linked to the domestication of animals and harnessing the natural physical strength, the second the advent of steam and electrical power, the third information age, and the fourth likened to evolution. It is a realignment that will naturally and organically bring about a new dynamic response to the vast and unfathomable universe that we exist in.

Africa is unfettered by overdevelopment, its youthful population and its carbon credit has attracted much interest. This the continent where the origins of humankind were discovered and remains of ancient civilizations still confound the most learned. The indigenous knowledge, the flora and fauna, climate and seasonal changes and the profound connection with the ancestors is finding expression once again.

Perhaps it’s the opening of the 4th eye, beyond the 3rd eye if you have a different view to that of Schwab of the WEF. The evidence of the broken system is there for everybody to see but so is the excitement around the development of a system that has the potential to change the planetary existence. 




February/March 2020


















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