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What is the WEF? Part One: The Fourth Industrial Revolution

By Justin Aukema November 2023 Klaus Schwab, head of the WEF, wrote The Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2016. Much of the book echoes discourse now common among business and political leaders. Readers will instantly recognize its ideas since they are already a part of common parlance. As with much of the WEF program, it is difficult to determine who is setting the agenda in the first place. Do WEF publications like The Fourth Industrial Revolution make the rules which others follow or are they simply repeating words and ideas that are already common among elites? Perhaps a bit of both. The key focus of the FIR is technology and how it’s transforming the ways in which we live. In Schwab’s view, the FIR is the culmination of a series of three prior industrial revolutions. It is characterized by AI and machine learning especially. But its potential impacts are even more disruptive than the previous three he argues. For that reason, it’s crucial for “stakeholders,” he says, to come toget

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