Will the Fourth Industrial Revolution Result in Utopia, or Dystopia?
George Zarkadakis in Conversation with Andrew Keen on Keen On
Hosted by Andrew Keen, Keen On features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the economic, political, and technological issues being discussed in the news, right now.
In this episode, Andrew is joined by George Zarkadakis, the author of Cyber Republic: Reinventing Democracy in the Age of Intelligent Machines, to discuss his plan for using technology to make liberal democracies more inclusive and the digital economy more equitable.
From the episode:
George Zarkadakis: Going back to the tipping point that we discussed about this fourth industrial revolution, what that means—the first industrial revolution, you had machines that essentially acted as multipliers of physical strength. And now we have machines that can act as multipliers of our cognitive strength, AI machines. This translates, economically speaking, to the potential of our societies to enter an era of economic abundance.
Think of AI systems, for instance, that can help us design materials, that are 100 percent efficient in converting solar energy to electric energy. Or think of us designing molecules and nanomaterials that can help us essentially protect Earth and solve the energy problem. All those things are possible because we will have this enormous computing power at our hands. So this is a huge, huge opportunity for the whole of humanity. It’s how we manage this and how we infuse it with the right moral values that will decide whether the end game is a dystopia of state and corporate surveillance, or perhaps a utopia of people being free to choose what they want with their lives and living long, happy, healthy lives.
This is the tipping point and the crossroads I’m referring to in my book, and this is the time to make those choices and actively build for that better future I’m aspiring to.
George Zarkadakis leads the Future of Work consulting practice at Willis Towers Watson, a global risk management consulting firm. The author of In Our Own Image: The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence and other books, he has written extensively on science and technology for publications including Aeon and Wired.
Previous ArticleOur Family Stories Are the Bridge Between Nature