There is no doubt that technology has made our association with one another a lot easier, it has enabled us to cover vast distances in collaboration for work and pleasure.

Every day we make choices, be it as individuals, families, communities or citizens whether to adopt various technologies and these decisions all influence the advancement of the Forth Industrial Revolution.

The very word "revolution" itself, or other metaphors such as "waves", conjure images of an irrepressible, exogenous force that is out of our control and must be simply endured.

It would be a shame for this to be the dominant narrative of the "Forth Industrial Revolution."

Technology is a socially constructed phenomenon, driven by the perception of our needs and desires and how we describe it matters.

Technology, besides its social interactive component, also provides us with the opportunity to pause and reflect, notwithstanding the ability to abandon them.

Because of the far reaching implications of the Forth Industrial Revolution, already upon us, where technology influences our bodies and minds we have to appreciate that as technology changes so we change too, which may be fundamental and irreversible.

The processes of innovation and its diffusion is socially driven by ethics and norms which are in constant flux to which we all contribute.

Nevertheless, the power of decision rests with certain individuals and groups such as companies who manage global digital platforms and governments who have the power to enable or block the development, commercialisation or adoption of emerging technologies.

As this Forth Industrial Revolution continues to advance we have the opportunity to discuss, debate and identify new norms and ethical principles to help guide us toward "a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny." (Prof. Schwab)

We need to work together across all sectors, disciplines and organisations in new models of collaboration.

World-wide organisations such as the International Organisation for Public-Private Cooperation and the World Economic Forum are invested in exploring drivers, impacts and opportunities to shape the trajectory of the Forth Industrial Revolution to truly "improve the state of the world".

Even these international institutions recognise that there needs to be a far greater collaboration and co-operation between people, companies, organisations, governments and countries.

We are entering into a new age where co-operation between people is being highlighted in an environment of peace and acceptance.

Will South Africa grab the opportunities that this offers or will we find ourselves reduced to being a charitable basket case due to the policies of servitude our government continues to impose upon us in one or other form?

Will we allow the voice of the unreasonable to prevail?


Source and acknowledgement:

Nicholas Davis, Head of Society and Innovation, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum