Don't fear technology, adapt and progress
According to the Luddites, robots will kill us, data will expose us, AI will rob us of our jobs
Young Ned Ludd was an energetic and promising apprentice in a textile factory in England. One day, in a fit of passion, he smashed the knitting frames in the factory in which he worked, and ended up behind bars.
This happened in 1779, when the first Industrial Revolution had just about started and people were gripped by fear of its consequences.
In the following years, the winds of change toppled many old business models. Modern machines invaded the textile sector, prompting thousands of raging workers to burn factories and destroy public facilities in many cities of England, leading to the 'The Luddite Movement', a reference to the actions of their former colleague, Ned Ludd.
The Luddites, or the protesters were either imprisoned or exiled, or even executed, while industrial development continued to advance.
Amongst all this, a new generation arose. They were none other than the children of the disaffected workers. This generation included engineers, technicians, and experts who led the Industrial Revolution and their homelands to unprecedented heights of economic development, progress, and prosperity, which these countries continue to live in.
The metaphorical Luddites still exist in different forms. Their presence is felt during crucial historical moments such as today. Their mission is simple and clear: stick to the past and be afraid of what is yet to come.
The Luddites live in the past and do not want to move on. They do not belong to any particular community, but they are present everywhere. A few months ago, groups of Luddites set fire to the 5G cell towers in some British cities, believing that these towers were responsible for the world's disasters, including the spread of Covid-19.
We can find the Luddites on social media too, where they share videos and articles that show only the dark side of the digital transformation taking place in the world. According to the Luddites, robots will kill us, data will expose us, artificial intelligence will rob us of our jobs and so on and so forth.
Fearing the unknown is a natural human instinct. However, today, as we stand on the threshold of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we have enough evidence that tells us that fearing the unknown is not necessary as the unknown can offer a tremendous drive to achieve new heights of progress, leadership, and development.
Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori is the Head of Digital Government and Director General, TRA
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