From an article by Aengus Collins Practice Lead, Global Risks, World Economic Forum:

Any change can be unsettling, but changes as profound as those being unleashed by the current phase of technological development – known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution – are prone to be particularly destabilizing. Technology pulls together the various networks that constitute modern life and fuses them into a complex “system of systems”, in which risks become difficult to identify and even more difficult to measure.

We can point to relatively isolated technological risks, such as the risk of a cyberattack interrupting business operations, but in an increasingly interconnected world the consequences can be much greater. Consider, for example, the immediate cascading impact of a cyberattack that knocks out a provider of critical infrastructure. Or the social and political impact of automation and artificial intelligence if they are allowed to reconfigure the world’s labour markets as radically as some have suggested is likely.

Technology is also shaping many of our background assumptions or perceptions, and this in turn can shape our understanding of and attitude towards risks. We live in a world defined by both the accelerating pace of technological change and the uncertainty this speeding up causes. Anecdotally, at least, more and more of us feel that we are running to stand still – just about keeping pace with some technological developments that affect us but largely oblivious of many others and unsure of how they all fit together.


Image Credit:      Alex Knight

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