Miracles of Artificial intelligence are all around us, from billions of people connected by mobile devices, to access to unlimited knowledge, from self-driving cars and drones to virtual assistants and software that translate or invest. Ordering a cab, booking a flight, buying a product, making a payment, listening to music, watching a film, or playing a game—any of these can now be done remotely.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to improve the quality of life for populations around the world, but it also has the potential to increase inequality. The shifts brought on by this revolution mean that we live in a time of great promise and great peril.
Coronavirus has an important and urgent lesson for us. This lesson is about, value of the common good above profits and privileges.
In fact, there is nothing unique about corona virus crisis. It is simply a heightened version of the less visible crisis we are now permanently mired in.
As countries sink under floods each winter, and burn each summer and are wrecked by hurricanes, we will learn this truth slowly and painfully that how much we have taken community for granted, abused it and hollowed it out.
It has taken a virus to show us that our lives are so intertwined that the idea of viewing ourselves as individuals, communities, nations, or a uniquely privileged species – is evidence of false consciousness.
Quarantine, lock-downs, can we survive as individuals, rather than as part of communities that care for all of us? The truth is that only together are we at our strongest, most alive and most human.
In its most pessimistic, dehumanized form, the Fourth Industrial Revolution may indeed have the potential to “robotize” humanity and thus to deprive us of our heart and soul.
But it also has a power to complement the best parts of human nature like empathy and stewardship. It can also lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny.
All of us are responsible for guiding the evolution toward shaping a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them.
We need to constantly remind ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people.
Appearance of this disease has reminded us of the incredible inherent strength of humanity. It reminds us of the passionate humanitarianism of not only the medical community, but the care-givers and social workers, the cleaners, the porters, the drivers, that must risk their lives to save others.
But will we remember the sacrifice, will we value them after the virus is no longer headline news? Or will we go back to business as usual – rewarding the abusers of this beautiful planet and parasites feeding off other people’s money?
If acknowledged at all, the conclusion to be drawn from the crisis is that we all matter equally, that we need to look after one another, that we sink or swim together. Not the survival of the fittest.
If we want the world to change for the better, the greatest contribution we can make right now is to become the change we wish to see.
“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.” …Rumi
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