Craft in the Fourth Revolution

Makers of contemporary craft are facing important challenges during a new era of digital revolution and neoliberalism. The Fourth Revolution (the fourth major industrial era since the initial industrial Revolution of the 18th century) is one of the hottest and most intriguing topics around. This next-generation industrial revolution led by artificial intelligence (AI), robotic technology, and life sciences does not just mean the advancement of technology. The changes will see the revolutionary shift of transforming the paradigm of past knowledge and values. The question is: how can craft survive?

The Commencement of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The most notable event of last year was the Go match between an AlpaGo and a human Go player. Go is assumed to be a simple board game in which two players take turns placing white and black stones on vacant intersections on a board divided by grid lines. However, the game itself is complex as there are approximately 10,170 unique games possible. Go is a game without a front or rear, a war without battles. As such, it reveals the East’s ontological thinking.1 DeepMind founder and CEO Demis Hassabis chose Go as the subject of the Future of Go summit with this context in mind.2

Prior to the match, Hassabis revealed the purpose of the event when he stated that “our aim is not just making it able to play Go - we want to apply the problem-solving capabilities acquired here to solve actual problems.” Many, however, displayed interest in this event of the century since it was thought to gauge whether or not artificial intelligence can act in accordance with humans.3

Artificial intelligence claimed complete victory over human Go players when an AlphaGo defeated a human Go player at the Google DeepMind Challenge match held in March 2017 in Seoul, Korea. It also beat current world champion Ke Jie at the match held at the Future of Go summit in Wuzhen, China. Professional Go players were dismayed to see AlphaGo compete so successfully when film footage was released after the Future Go summit. The moves decided upon by AlphaGo contradicted all the pre-existing and conventional recognition signifiers the conventional Go had pursued. This intimated the emergence of a meta-language signified by new algorithms as well as a previously unseen way in which artificial intelligence understands human beings and the world. The arrival of AlphaGo has led me to think about an extension to the realm of human perception and traces of humanity. Lack of emotion and sympathy are frequently cited as the primary difference between humans and AI robots. However, are humans able to answer questions such as “Why do we have feelings?” or “How do we gain the sympathy of others?” Experts point out that we cannot understand or explain these things about ourselves. Currently, AI robots do not yet have that ability to understand either.

Humans cannot surpass machines that learn and create by themselves, so an alternative for craftsmen is to consider that which only humans can deal with