Reflections On The Fourth Industrial Revolution

by Freya Scammells

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March '22 Edition

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is clearly upon us - a new era of innovation in technology - and we are excited to keep you updated with what's new! In this monthly feature we bring you up to date on the latest resources, news and insights in the AI community. Happy Reading!

This month in your Reflection X newsletter...

We are all constantly being presented with ever-more advanced technology as society continually evolves.

With more advances made in technology, there becomes a greater need for value-driven innovations that can really help aid Diversity, Equality and Inclusion!

Last month we spoke on the importance of powerful Sci-fi available on streaming services right now...that can really drive innovation to new heights through compelling representation.

Recently, when Frank Herbert’s Dune was released as an updated theatrical presentation, new audiences were presented with a classic science fiction tale, from a legendary author, about family and community.

This month, let's take a further look at some highly compelling works of science fiction and how ideas in these works can inspire you, as a tech innovator or a potential one. What worlds have these authors created and what are the potential pitfalls and possibilities of highly advanced tech that they may have foreseen?

5 top female authors who have contributed highly-compelling Sci-fi to alight your curiosity!

As usual, we have our 5 Top Tech Innovations that are still ascending and our Top 4 AI News Stories to round up your tech March 2022!

Lets get your Tech-March started right now with...

The Ethics Of Modern Tech

How can we, with a greater understanding, make our evolving Fourth Industrial Revolution even better through an additional deep dive into Sci-fi ideas and concepts?

But before we begin, a quote from a master.

‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’.
- from
‘Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible by Arthur C. Clarke, 1962.

We need creative people, like Clarke, to help us make sense of the world around us and today. As our world gets ever more complex, their perspectives could be argued as indispensable.

After all, he created Hal 9000!

Additionally, if you have the opportunity to watch the film adaptation, keep a look out for our ancestor, the ape, throwing a bone into the air in one shot and it coming back down as a space station in the next. Can anything beat that?

Sci-fi authors knew and know inherently what technology means in order for stories to hang together and ring true. If they don’t resonate they fail, probably because we all know at a very deep level what fundamentally benefits us.

To illustrate this in the real world, the use of social media as an example, can be great fun and we appreciate the efforts companies go to to inform us of ‘too much’, but can even more be done by providers to help us comprehend the colossal amounts of information more effectively?

This month we take our cues from Sci-Fi authors past and present to help us understand a little more about the nature of technology and how it affects us.

‘There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.’
-from ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert, 1965.

We ask you now, to consider some points prevalent in science fiction and perhaps points to be asked, ad infinitum with every new generation of technology.

 1. Does today’s technology, aside from the amazing advances in clinical applications, actually heal us?

‘When one teaches, two learn.’
-Robert Heinlein, sci-fi icon.

How do you feel after checking your smart devices? ired, depleted, confused or perhaps all three?. Who tells you when you have had enough?

2. The tech that inspires us and the tech that sets off alarm bells

‘It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.’

-from A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, 1968.

What lights your fire?

What engages you and also, what encourages you to think outside of your experience or ‘map of the world’?

Who created your ‘map of the world’?

Last month we covered inspiring Sci-Fi in film and television which yearned for greater worlds and also touched on some that warned us of the potential unwieldy power of advanced technology.

Advances in technology have to mean something to the end user and also to society. The 2013 film Elysium, starring Matt Damon depicts a groundbreaking technology that services the few, at the cost of the many.

How inclusive are certain technologies available today?

3. The value of modern technology.

‘I must confess that I lost faith in the sanity of the world.’

– fromThe Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G Wells, 1896.

Our health, both physical and mental, depends on environments that challenge us safely, but also allow us to replenish and actually comprehend information and experience. How can we learn if certain modern technology might make all of our decisions for us?

4. Our lives and modern technology.

‘Where any answer is possible, all answers are meaningless.’

– from ‘The Road to Infinity’ by Isaac Asimov, 1979.

Algorithms rule by nature. Everything we input into a device has value, but do most algorithms actually benefit us and our planet?

5. Conclusion.

Ultimately, it may all just boils down to a simple question:

Are we the user, the product or both?

If we are just ‘the product’, what needs to happen, through innovation, for the tanker to be righted?

5 Top Female Authors Who Contributed To Compelling Sci fi

1. Joanna Ross

Joanna Ross (1937-2011), who originally hailed from The Bronx, published 50 short stories overall and is widely regarded as a pioneer in feminist Sci-fi.

Her most notable work; ‘The Female Man’ takes onboard themes of sex and gender.

2. Octavia Butler

Another prominent female Sci-fi author; Octavia Butler, focuses her writing on social issues and also touches on the notion that modern tech advances, whilst inevitable, may not necessarily be the antidote to our collective shortcomings.

A notable work; ‘Childfinder’.

3. James Tiptree Jr.

The famous Sci-fi author James Tiptree Jr., otherwise known as Alice Bradley Sheldon (1915 to 1987) actually maintained her male pseudonym for many years before the public found out, in 1977, that she was a woman.

After discovering and becoming enthralled with Sci-fi early on through Weird Tales, Bradley Sheldon would still have to wait until 1968 before her own creativity in the genre gained public attention. But after that, she published numerous works right up until her death in 1987, choosing mainly to focus on sex and gender.

‘Her Smoke Rose Up Forever’ (released by Arkham House, 1990) is regarded as a collection of some of her very best short stories.

4. Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley is seen as a highly capable Sci-fi author. The Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Nebula Award and the BSFA Award are all accolades she has been nominated for.

A notable work; ‘God’s War’.

5. Louisa Hall

Louisa Hall is seen as a Sci-fi author that may probably stand with the very best, ever.

MICHAEL SCHAUB for NPR from July 8, 2015 is quoted as suggesting "it almost seems like an understatement to call it a masterpiece.", regarding her work ‘Speak’.

A notable work: the aforementioned ‘Speak’, Ms Hall’s collection of stories focusing on Artificial Intelligence.

Top 5 Tech Innovations

1. Virtual Reality & AI

What is that?

AI-enhanced Virtual Reality will probably see greater prominence moving forward, now that computing power and software development are at the level where ‘accurate and detail-rich digital assets based on the real world’ can feasibly be created, according to Emily Moore for in January.

She also notes that our tech world is moving toward ‘Web3, or Web 3.0’ interestingly.

Further, the BBC Technology reporter Jane Wakefield just last week, covered Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘Meta’ news regarding his companies’ development of ‘Builderbot’. The software apparently enables the creation of ‘basic’ virtual environments powered by AI.

2. More 'Big Data'

What is it?

When data is too big to be realistically analysed traditionally, ‘Big Data’ tech steps in to handle the work. The complexity inherent in such operations and the sheer amounts of data-processing required for completion, for our growing world, are all optimised through progressively more powerful tech strategies.

3. Smartcities

What are they?

The ‘Smart City’ concept comprises data collection sensors, activation via voice and other advanced technology to optimise a ‘modern urban area’. ‘Smart Cities’ are regarded as highly important, perhaps not quite in the way they were originally intended with a significant centralised ‘hub’ to handle all operations, but more as an idea that can be embraced globally by each new generation to optimise our lives and help our planet further.

4. Cloud-Native Platforms (CNPs)

What are they?

Cloud-Native Platforms or (CNPs) act as automation services regarding provisions for the infrastructure of programs that are run and hosted within the cloud.

Even more AI this year

As our world bears witness to the amazing leaps in modern tech power every single month, we do expect to see more and more companies adopt AI as a matter of course. With an ever broader understanding globally of how companies can benefit from task automation to optimise productivity and revenue, confidence in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will likely increase even further.

To complete your newsletter for March 2022, as always, let us inform you of our Top 4 AI News Stories.

Expert guidance on propelling your career in tech

Reflection X's ML&DS Career Accelerator Programme can guide you up your career ladder! Click the link below to find out more and check out the amazing feedback we received from helping people like you in tech!


Top 4 AI News Stories

1. AI in Africa

In a fascinating piece by Kylie Kiunguyu for from the 21st of February, the fear of Africa being left behind regarding AI and linguistics is addressed.

Ms Kiunguyu argues that with advances in the understanding of languages spoken on the continent relating to their application within AI and with increased sympathy toward said languages in the tech world, there is no reason why Africa should be at risk of missing out.


2. New AI framework developed by Cornell computer scientists segments cities based on ‘fashion sense’.

In a piece for by Tom Fleischman, from the 15th of February, Cornell computer scientists have developed tech that can segment cities based on ‘fashion sense’.

The aim, according to the article, was to analyse how cities looked, on a map in this regard, in part, to help people find like minded citizens, when moving house for example.


3. AI ‘safety and equity’ research hub has been launched!

From February 15, in an article on, an AI ‘safety and equity’ hub has been launched by Northwestern in collaboration with Underwriters Laboratories Inc.

The intention, this encouraging and interesting piece reports, is ‘to better incorporate safety and equity into the fast-growing technology.’


4. Counting fish with an ‘AI sea-craft’

According to a recent piece in from the 21st of February, an ‘AI-sea-craft’ can now aid in the environmental monitoring of the sea!

The craft, named ‘Nemesis’, developed by New Zealand-based robotics company ‘X-craft Enterprises’, just saw its first ‘deep water test run’. The location?; the Cook strait and the end goal; to aid scientists in environmental monitoring at sea depths of up to 600 metres.


About the Author

Freya supports the tech talent toolbox arm of Reflection X where she is coaching technologists to achieve their full potential. With over 10 years of experience within the Tech and AI recruitment space, she has been from working closely with thousands individuals and leaders during hiring processes while partnering with very early stage start-ups all the way to some of the top AI Labs in the world.

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