Why Coronavirus will Accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution

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The pandemic’s silver lining is the chance to experiment with technologies and co-operative approaches across borders that could lead to safer, more sustainable and more inclusive global futures.

The theory of punctuated equilibrium, proposed in 1972 by biologists Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge, holds that populations of living organisms tend to experience a significant amount of evolutionary change in short, stressful bursts of time. Gould and Eldredge argued that evolution isn’t a constant, gradual process—it occurs during episodes when species are in environments of high tension or especially crisis.

The human species is going through such a period right now: the Covid-19 pandemic. The profound pressures that individuals, organizations and societies face in this crisis are accelerating the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), blurring the boundaries between the physical, digital and biological worlds. The current state of emergency compels us to consider the necessity of structural shifts in our relationship with the environment and how we conduct ourselves as a global community.

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