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The 4th Industrial Revolution and Cybernetics - From the mechanical system of technology to the self-organizing system of technology -

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2018, (68), pp.5-32
  • DOI : 10.31310/HUM.068.01
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : January 17, 2018
  • Accepted : February 8, 2018
  • Published : February 28, 2018

JongMan Moon 1

1성균관대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper offers a new philosophical approach for explaining the system of technology of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Since 2016 the 4th Industrial Revolution has been one of the hottest topics in Korea. This in two ways; first, all the government agencies recognized the 4th Industrial Revolution as a tremendous opportunity to overcome the current recession; second, people believed that one major role of it is to challenge the deepest assumptions which permeate our attempts to understand and explain the world. The expectation that technology will change everything has been amplified. What such claims mean and what their consequences will be considered throughout this paper. Its overall aim is to outline the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution; the challenges that it makes and the opportunities that it offers our society with regard to a specific set of problems and concerns. As opposed to the fact that the 4th Industrial Revolution was a recent phenomenon, I aim to demonstrate that it has a history, as does the concept of technology. In doing so, I analyze the present state of rapid technological change surrounding the 4th Industrial Revolution by comparing the transition of the paradigm of simplicity to the paradigm of complexity. The paradigm of simplicity means Newtonian science which is rooted in physics and mathematics. From the 17th century to the end of the 19th century, Newtonian science has shown us a world simple and predictable. When it comes to the laws of the motion, the core of the paradigm of simplicity suggests that the world is a well-behaved machine. It offers the promise of a law-abiding and predictable universe, a belief strengthened by the notion that relationships between cause and effect are simple, clear, and linear. And I regard as the core system of the paradigm of simplicity as a mechanical system of technology. The mechanical system of technology consists of three components: 1) human control, 2) components with different functions, 3) repeatability and permanence. But in the early 20th century there was a shifting paradigms. Einstein’s theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, and non-equilibrium thermodynamics have completely changed the view of the world. As the science philosopher Hans Reichbach has mentioned, there was "transition from causal laws to probability laws". And then it has introduced the paradigm of complexity, a new achievement in philosophy and sciences in the second half of the 20th century. Regarding the paradigm of complexity, it has shown us a world far more complex and unpredictable than Newton’s physics can explain. And in this process, a new theory called Cybernetics was born. In 1948, invented by Nobert Wiener, this is the science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things. To put it another way, the key words here are ‘entropy’, ‘feedback’, and ‘information’ as they indicate the interweaving of the notion of communication and control in both machines and living things. Cybernetics focuses on how systems use information and control action to steer towards and maintain their goals, while counteracting various disturbances. And this cybernetic feedback process is directly connected to the self-organizing system of technology. The self-organizing system of technology consists of three components: 1) limited control, 2) cybernetics network, 3) autonomy and persistence. Departing from this distinction, I then focus on the implication of the technical system in the era of 4th Industrial Revolution by exploring the relationship between technical system and cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, Self-driving Car, 3D printers, etc. And in order to explain the strained relationship between paradigm and system of technology, I use a historical and principle approach which is to view the current rapid technological changes such as 4th Industrial Revolution or digital transformation from a wider perspective. As a result, this study will show meaningful results on what the current meaning of the 4th Industrial Revolution is and what the future direction will be.

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