Before we get googly eyed about 4IR, there are tough questions
The fourth industrial revolution forces us to think seriously about market power, big firms and market dominance
There has been a lot of talk among policymakers and within society about the so-called fourth industrial revolution (4IR) – the rapid growth in digital and artificial intelligence technologies that are fundamentally changing our lives.
Most recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the 4IRSA initiative to focus attention on adapting our economy to these technological changes. Much of the discussion on this has focused on two issues: how technological change can boost economic growth; and what the likely impacts of the new technologies may be on employment. These are, of course, very important issues for SA.
There is, however, a third issue in this debate, related to matters of competition and economic power, that is equally important for SA, and it has to date received very little, if any, consideration. ..