Very glossy video by World Economic Forum about the fourth industrial revolution which, it states, will bring about unprecedented change. To give but one example, in a key interest of mine, it will allow us at long last the opportunity to explore our minds, using AI and brain scanning techiques to pierce our own Selves: the old dichotomy, for instance of the scratch board of the unconscious as Lacanians would have it; the layering of systems of cognition, one over the other, conscious over unconscious, so that its cloudy semiotic dissonances can be mapped. However, critical to this slickly produced and edited programme is that the fourth industrial revolution requires a new narrative to be created; one that moves away from neo liberalism and Marxism towards something that evolves beyond 19th and 20th century concerns to the present.
For anyone that’s interested, beyond the current debate in the UK between the left and right. Corbynism, I believe, was never about Marxism, but about a new economic and industrial momentum 0that would see in a revolution based on a new green deal. The dream was that Labour would help bring this about, but this will happen anyway, inevitably. And as much by external events, such as the current COVID-19 crisis as by nature (the unconscious, Gaia theory, Thanatos, Eros, God or even COVID-19 – it doesn’t matter!).
The current crisis is a spur in that direction because it will help to bring about a new narrative. Governments, such as the current one, are archaic; the obfuscations and posturing around power and status seem utterly at odds with the scale of the challenges that face us, the dual-party system unable to mobilise efficiently before a crisis. Polarity, or democracy, as we know it, only creates ambiguity through polarisation. With each passing year of the 21st century all this becomes increasingly cumbersome as the pressure to adapt to this fourth industrial revolution becomes the central issue. The old models of socio-economic distribution simply cannot keep pace. We cannot go back, but going forward means changing the way we function to meet the challenges that come with enhanced technologies that make the old ways of doing things redundant.
The time is upon us right here, right now, there is, to repeat, no going back. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has started, the systems that cannot facilitate huge fundamental change will disappear (in some cases overnight). Growth seperated from social welfare, or people, as this vid. argues, is in the past as are dodgy government interventions that ultimately don’t work amongst people, especially when they are aimed only at those with tribal allegiances. We need, indeed demand, a new narrative, based on real needs, a sustainable and meaningful way forward that accepts responsibility for everyone, not only those promoted by the old neoliberal clichés: competitiveness, free markets, trickle-down economics, low wages for most, the scaling back of essential services, the conjuring stick of quantative easing, the accusatory finger disingenuously pointed at the so-called ‘profligacy’ of the poor, tough love, in other words, and so on. In some ways, socialism could counterbalance this, but can it? The great hulk of the labour movement, weighed by its own internal challenges, has been holed and is fast sinking, under the new leadership of Sir Keir Starmer, to the fathomless depth.
The last UK election showed that socialism, even updated with new ideas, was too vulnerable to the old distortions and media obfuscations. It could not provide the inspiration even though it advanced these ideas, the public did not believe it would do so as it had failed to do so before. But worse, it failed to inspire, chained as it is to the dualism of left and right. Anyway, these ideologies, socialism and neoliberalism, belong to bygone industrial revolutions, not the current super-enhanced technological revolution now coming to the fore. The way ahead needs a new narrative, that fuses the past, present and, most importantly, the future. One that can rise above the tensions of two poles, Tory and Labour, and sweep all before it, that appeals to everyone – but even if it doesn’t – fortunately, it won’t really matter because change stands by for no-one, the horse has truly bolted; the old corrupt regimes will collapse from the pressure of these technologies, quantum computers, biotechnologies, super-fast internet, virtual realities, the list is endless, The fourth industrial revolution doesn’t require it be acknowledged by the status quo, it simply leaps over it into a world defined by humanity itself, the users, not pressed into ubiquitous global homogeneity by corporations or states hang up on ideology.
In such a world in which mobile technology and the virtual classroom, or any other system in which technology assists, the boundaries to knowledge are put aside, so with it the old power structures. At first, as now, slowly (the last dull 50 years!), but eventually completely, instantaneously, the next, more revolutionary, 50. The first quarter of the twenty-first century was a coming to terms, the next quarter will see those terms exploded into every sphere of life. As humans we see time through a narrow window and become reliant on the old ways of doing things, such as our over reliance on petro-chemicals, but the fourth industrial revolution is already heading off from fossil fuels. It is a revolution that will challenge all who stand before it, leaping over the heads of those who were entitled to benefit most from the old orders of progress.
Appended here as this article is not finished: Late for now as the membership have just voted in Sir Keir Starmer. It’s sad, but I think in some ways Corbyn peaked too early, or at least early enough, so New Labour could upend him. It’s water under the bridge now. That said, I don’t believe it’s going to be that simple. Capitalism is waking to the shift that is irrevocably taking place towards human capital, energised by the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is what we the membership are after, grass roots decision making and responsibilty at the individual level. That age is upon us, unlikely as Sir Keir Starmer is, and undeserving, he now has the reigns. If from Corbyn he has not learned to manage from the bottom up, but tries to rule in alliance with a cabal with their heads in the clouds, he will soon enough be brought down to earth by events. There’s no stomach in the age of innovation and communication for anything else. Even the current PM will fall into line, I believe. Trump won’t but that’s because the US needs to be brought down a notch as does Russia and China. They’re all too authoritarian and the age of mass communication supersedes all of that. Next the oligarchs and billionnaires. They too will come crashing in the next five years. Transparency and the end of neolibaralism will see to that.