30 June 2020

By Prof. Johan Meyer, D.Eng: Electrical and Electronics.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, with all the opportunities it brings, is arguably driven forward by the ability it gives us of being connected. Any opportunity comes with its own set of associated challenges and the Fourth Industrial Revolution will not be spared. With connectivity, comes the proliferation of knowledge amongst the masses.

‘The Reformation’, considered to have started with the publication of the Ninety-five Theses by Martin Luther in 1517, was in some way spawned by the transfer of biblical knowledge from the select few to the mass population, which was made possible by the availability of the printed Bible which came into being as a result of the printing revolution driven forward by the Gutenberg printing presses from around 1455.

In a similar way we can expect that the knowledge distribution as a result of the connectivity offered through the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, would move information from the specialist domain into the mass population domain. Knowledge holds power. Protected technological information is what enables corporations to maintain their edge on new inventions and commercial viability.

There is a saying that says, ‘Ignorance is bliss’. With little information comes a few respected opinions. Choosing one to believe and teach as truth is easy to do, but as information distribution increases, so do respected opinions. A case in point is the differing opinions, even amongst highly ranked specialists, on how the COVID-19 pandemic should be handled: to lock down or not to lock down. The point is that with an increase in knowledge comes an increase in different views, which in their own right, may all be true. We may have to start considering the notion that there is more than one truth.

The controversy around the claims of potential ill effects as the result of long-term exposure to radiation from 5G communication equipment has reached peak levels during the COVID-19 pandemic – to the extent that any claims are under threat of legal prosecution by the government.

Claims from the protagonists are then taken to the extreme with reports of birds falling dead from the sky to linking the COVID-19 virus to the result of exposure to 5G communication equipment.


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