The idea that we are in the early stages of a fourth industrial revolution (4IR) has been accepted by most people in the world. We should probably temper our enthusiasm when it comes to what this 4IR means for the “precariat” — those folk who live on the distant margins of society, to whom a microwave oven is alien. (A couple of months ago I gave a family one. After plugging it in, the head of the household asked me to show her how it worked.)

A source of worry in most quarters has been the growth of artificial intelligence (AI). The main concerns have been around privacy and overall human security. Those of us who follow the science and technology behind AI are concerned over that moment when machines (robots) make decisions independent of human beings. I will avoid the jargon. I should also make it clear that I am not a scientist; my knowledge of physics is smaller than a Planck length.

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