Shawn Hattingh, 9 November 2017, “The Political Nature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Pambazuka News, from here.
Mechanisation and automation have been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But these are not inevitable or neutral economic realities. They are political weapons of oppression under capitalism. It is a war against the working classes to increase profits. It is no an accident that bosses choose to mechanise and automate in the context of the massive crisis of capitalism.
Recently, the accounting multinational company, Grant Thompson, conducted a study amongst 2500 multinational corporations regarding mechanisation, automation and the introduction of artificial intelligence. Of these companies, 56% said they planned to automate parts of their operations within the next year. Another study by Oxford University was even starker. It stated that 47% of jobs in the United States and possibly 50% of jobs in parts of Africa – including South Africa – could possibly be lost to artificial intelligence, mechanisation and automation in the next two decades. It is clear that if this transpires, the consequences will be dire for workers in Africa – including South Africa – and their ability to organise.
Some people have said that this move to use advanced computers and automation is the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’; and that the inevitable advance of technology Continue reading