The Fourth Industrial Revolution, a wave of innovation enabled by the digital age, raises some profound ethical questions about the kind of world we want to live in.
From artificial intelligence to virtual currencies, it’s a complex and contentious trend. You can read over 100 expert views on different aspects of the revolution here, while below are 11 articles that will help you get to grips with the ethical issues at hand.
1. “Every day we see the emergence of new technologies. And every day we see a widening gap between progress and society’s ability to cope with its consequences.” Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
2. The top ten emerging technologies of 2016. Find out about the promise and perils of innovations including self-driving cars, a brain-stimulating technique called optogenetics and the “internet of nanothings”.
3. “Since these technologies will ultimately decide so much of our future, it is deeply irresponsible not to consider together whether and how to deploy them.” Mildred Z. Solomon, President of the Hastings Center.
4. “Advances in brain science are enabling us to cross the farthermost frontiers of what it means to be human.” Nita Farahany, Professor, Law and Philosophy, Duke University.
5. “The AI revolution is coming fast. But without a revolution in trust and transparency, it will fail.” Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.
6. “Failing to understand why some people are concerned about emerging technologies, and how those concerns might be effectively addressed, can spell disaster.” Andrew Maynard, Director, Arizona State University.
7. “In the past 50 years, 60% of the earth’s ecosystem has been depleted. The Fourth Industrial Revolution provides some of the solutions for a more sustainable future.” Sarita Nayyar, Managing Director, World Economic Forum, USA.
8. “We have a choice: to build an amazing future such as we saw on Star Trek, or to head into the dystopia of Mad Max.” Vivek Wadhwa, Professor at Carnegie Mellon University Engineering at Silicon Valley.
9. “A focus solely on short-term financial impact misses the discoveries that improve quality of life for millions.” Alice Gast, President of Imperial College, London.
10. “Should we build robots that feel human emotions?” Pascale Fung, Professor of Electronic and Computer Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
For everything is just so,
into tyrannical perfection,
a thousand decisions and revisions,
all the humdrumness of life
to things far smarter than I.
Brian Bilston, Poet