First heralded by the master of Davos, Klaus Schwab, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is at our doorstep. States on both sides of the Atlantic are replacing the existing techno-political regime with a new one based on pervasive surveillance, the curtailment of free movement, the mothballing of machines that run on fossil fuels, and the substitution of human workers with robots. This new regime, in other words, is profoundly anti-human.
We are told that these technological changes are organic market developments, a visionary response to consumer demand. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be people-powered,” says the global consulting giant McKinsey & Co. Yet if you don’t like the new order, well, to hell with you—because it’s inevitable, anyway. Just a year ago, Schwab himself pronounced: “The people assume that we are just going back to the good world which we had, and everything will be normal again…. This is, let’s say, fiction. It will not happen.”
A critical component of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, for Schwab and others, is something they call the Internet of Bodies, technologies that would integrate the human body directly into the web. As a recent report by the Rand Corporation details, having people quite literally linked in might yield “brain-computer interfaces” that could allow amputees to control prosthetic limbs with their minds.