The Journal of International Affairs has a remarkable history of examining critical questions that have arisen in international affairs. This volume continues in that important tradition.
Beginning with a framing essay by Prof. Klaus Schwab on the meaning and significance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the articles and essays in this issue explore the geo-economic, labor force, gender, and societal consequences of new technologies and industrial change. Several essays also consider consequences and adoption in different regions of the world and still other essays consider governance issues arising as a result of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence. The essays are wide ranging and include leading academics, practitioners, scientists, as well as the winner of the Journal's annual student essay contest, who is a first-year master's student at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.
The term "Fourth Industrial Revolution" was introduced into popular and academic discourse in no small measure by the writings of Prof. Klaus Schwab. He recognized a number of years ago the transformative and disruptive changes occurring economy-wide and worldwide as a result of the rapid deployment of revolutionary new technologies and their associated ecosystems, such as the Internet of Things, the internet itself, personal computers and cellphones, and autonomation, in addition to technologies such as blockchain, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more. Calling the confluence of these technologies and transformations now underway a Fourth Industrial Revolution is, by itself, a provocation for all of us to recognize the scope and the significance of the technological changes that are now unfolding.
These new technologies and associated ecosystems are creating fantastic opportunities for problem-solving and innovation that are driving widespread change. It now possible to detect and eradicate certain diseases, educate...