The 4th Industrial Revolution and the Meaning of Life

“Previous industrial revolutions liberated humankind from animal power, made mass production possible and brought digital capabilities to billions of people”. This Fourth Industrial Revolution is, however, fundamentally different. It is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.

In this third post about the Meaning of Life, we sketch possible thinking steps that might help us to get a solution or at least a direction for one of today’s urgent issues as identified by Yuval Noah Harari  in the book  21 Lessons for the 21st Century (see the blog post Will our inventions make us irrelevant?).

What are the consequence for the Meaning of Life by the fusing developments in information- and bio-technology?

Thinking step 1: Choose a topic

As an influence from the physical environment the Meaning of Life may change. Choose a topic of the list below that you would like to explore, or choose your own topic.

  • Children growing up in a hybrid world of physical and virtual reality.
  • It is not anymore ¨my¨ brain, it has become ¨the¨ brain. Then, who am I?
  • I am genetically edited.
  • My smartphone tells me that I have to consult a doctor. And that I am feeling anxious and mentally unstable.
  • They know everything about me: face, smell and voice recognition is everywhere. My emotions.

Thinking step 2: Now the thinking itself

As it is about the future and trends, intuition rather than rational thinking might be more effective. So, embrace your feelings, hunches, emotions, speculation, fantasies, associations.

Do a C&S (Consequences and Sequel): How would this development influence ideas about the Meaning of Life

  • At this moment
  • In the short time (1-5 years)
  • In the medium term (5 – 25 years)
  • In the long term ( over 25 years)


Keep in mind the focus: What might be possible consequences of this technology for our ideas about the meaning of life.

Keep the thinking close to yourself.


5 Replies to “The 4th Industrial Revolution and the Meaning of Life”

  1. Nikola Chalev reacted via LinkedIn:

    Overseeing Strategic Partnerships, operations and business development of Infosource and IBase Digital Partners.

    Now that people are implanting sensors in their bodies and cyborgs are becoming an integrated part of our society. And yet some influences are claiming that “technology is making us more human”. I wonder what other people think about that statement. Were people less human half a century ago? Is technology meant to make us more human, but the way we are using it right now does just the opposite? Would the meaning of life become being able to cope with ever-advancing technology while trying to conserve the human in us?

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