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Beyond Imagining

Beyond Imagining Issue 5 is a digital magazine that explores the many different ways in which the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is affecting our everyday lives.

Developed by the University of Johannesburg (UJ), its previous issues have explored how augmented reality is now part of our schooling systems, how artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to diagnose breast cancer, and how drones are overseeing complex agricultural processes.

In a Cloudebate™ that took place in mid-2020, we looked at one critical question that applies to all of these innovations: “What are their ethical implications?” In this issue of Beyond Imagining Issue 5, we take this conversation further.

The lines between technology and security, privacy and intellectual property are increasingly thin in the 4IR era. And exploring this shaky territory often reveals more questions than answers. Without precedent on which to base our positions (no previous generation has ever had to worry about the ethical decisions of a self-driving car), we’re making things up from scratch.

Here, we strive to unravel the ways in which 4IR is forcing us to redefine ethics. It’s a complex and changeable landscape, but one we must constantly explore if we are going to create a healthy and resilient future in which technology benefits humanity.



The ethical questions

AI, deep learning, big data and data mining – all of these are fundamental building blocks in the era of 4IR.

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Important definitions in the (hypothetical) 4IR and Ethics Dictionary

In a UJ CloudebateTM conducted in mid-2020, three experts came together to discuss the intersection of ethics and 4IR.

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But first, access for all

Before we can explore the broader ethical implications of 4IR, we have to consider the ethical implications…

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Dealing with corruption and fraud in a 4IR world

The 4IR era has opened up a whole new world of business opportunities, and companies have been quick to leverage…

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Hawking and Musk on the dangers of AI

In the years before his death in 2018, world-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking spoke extensively about the dangers of AI.

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When the machines take over: The AI control problem in pop culture

AI experts, scientists and philosophers call it “the AI control problem”: the conundrum of building a super intelligent agent that will help its creators…

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The biggest data breach in history

In 2018, the creator of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, admitted that his era-defining invention…

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Are machines taking away our jobs?

In almost the same instant that 4IR started to become prevalent in different areas of society, one critical question emerged…

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Ethics beyond technology: AI in PR

In August 2020, two major public relations (PR) institutes in the United Kingdom and Canada, with the support of…

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