Quiet Desperation

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The Vision of Tom Wheeler and Klaus Schawb

I will come back to Lincon another time as I will now indulge you with an in-depth look at the rational judgements of these two Globalisation leaders on the 5G Revolution. The lesson I am hoping to call to attention, is that as scientists and engineers we can (if we so desire) as doers, not commentators, turn our hand to these matters, whereas the PPE Brigade cannot get their head arround S&T.

Education, eh! I say this because there are various institutes dedicated to the public understanding of S&T and also various institutes dedicated to the public understanding of politics, but where are the Think Tanks whose ethos is to enlighten PPE educated politicians about S&T? Hence their patronising of us, is merely defensive behaviour which should actually be understood as such and pitied. This S&T disconnect is one modern fault line which runs through Parliament. Search out the British scientists and engineers pre-specialisation and you shall see that Simone Weil was correct.

Let us begin with Klaus Schwab, and consider some of his observations which I have extracted from his seminal "Foreign Affairs" article: "Navigating the Next Industrial Revoluttion":- 

"We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society...............

There are three reasons why today's transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope, and systems impact. The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. Moreover, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country...........And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance..........

The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing...............

Engineers, designers, and architects are combining computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering, and synthetic biology to pioneer a symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, the products we consume, and even the buildings we inhabit.......

In the future, technological innovation will also lead to a supply-side miracle, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. Transportation and communication costs will drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective, and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets and drive economic growth......However, I am convinced of one thing-that in the future, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production. This will give rise to a job market increasingly segregated into "low-skill/lowpay" and "high-skill/high-pay" segments, which in turn will lead to an increase in social tensions.......

In addition to being a key economic concern, inequality represents the greatest societal concern associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The largest beneficiaries of innovation tend to be the providers of intellectual and physical capital-the innovators, shareholders, and investors-which explains the rising gap in wealth between those dependent on capital versus labor. Technology is therefore one of the main reasons why incomes have stagnated, or even decreased, for a majority of the population in high-income countries: the demand for highly skilled workers has increased while the demand for workers with less education and lower skills has decreased.

The result is a job market with a strong demand at the high and low ends, but a hollowing out of the middle. This helps explain why so many workers are disillusioned and fearful that their own real incomes and those of their children will continue to stagnate. It also helps explain why middle classes around the world are increasingly experiencing a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction and unfairness. A winner-takes-all economy that offers only limited access to the middle class is a recipe for democratic malaise and dereliction.........

Discontent can also be fueled by the pervasiveness of digital technologies and the dynamics of information sharing typified by social media. More than 30 percent of the global population now uses social media platforms to connect, learn, and share information. In an ideal world, these interactions would provide an opportunity for cross-cultural understanding and cohesion. However, they can also create and propagate unrealistic expectations as to what constitutes success for an individual or a group, as well as offer opportunities for extreme ideas and ideologies to spread."


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