The late Stephen Hawking said this about the onset of the fourth industrial revolution: "If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be towards the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality." World Bank statistics show that automation is responsible for 17% of production and services, and this is projected to rise to 40% within 15 years. A commonly held belief by the middle class is that automation threatens only blue-collar workers, but this is untrue. The full replacement of bank tellers, clerks, bookkeepers and pharmacists by computers is a reality and robots will soon start affecting the work of teachers, doctors, pilots and architects. An important feature of the introduction of ...

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