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Introduction

Science Museum employee Kerry Law poses for a photograph by an audio visual display at the Large Hadron Collider exhibition at the Science Museum in London, November 12, 2013. Toby Melville / Reuters

From social media to the Internet of Things, digital fabrication to robotics, virtual reality to synthetic biology, new technologies are racing forward across the board. Together they are ripping up the rule book for people, firms, and governments alike. Mastering this so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution is the theme of the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Annual Meeting, for which this special collection serves as background reading.

Klaus Schwab kicks things off with an overview of the topic, followed by sections on the technological trends driving the revolution; those trends’ economic, social, and political impacts; and the resulting challenges for policy. Drawn from the pages of Foreign Affairs and the pixels of ForeignAffairs.com, the articles feature world-class experts explaining crucial issues clearly, directly, and authoritatively.

Read Neil Gershenfeld on 3-D printing, John Chambers on the Internet of Things, Daniela Rus and Illah Nourbakhsh on robotics, Laurie Garrett on synthetic biology, and

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