The fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, is affecting almost every industry worldwide. It is rapidly transforming how businesses operate. Industry 4.0 uses transformative technologies to connect the physical world with the digital world. Current trends include:

  • advanced automation and robotics (including collaborative robots or ‘cobots’)
  • machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication
  • artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • sensor technology and data analytics

Four key drivers enable this trend:

  • rising data volumes, computational power and connectivity
  • emerging analytics and business-intelligence capabilities
  • new forms of human-machine interaction, such as touch interfaces, augmented and virtual reality systems
  • improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as robotics and 3D printing
  • Digitization is increasingly shaping the world of work. While computerisation has been historically confined to routine tasks involving explicit rule-based activities, algorithms for big data are now rapidly entering domains reliant upon pattern recognition and can readily substitute for labour in a wide range of non-routine cognitive tasks.
    Advanced robots are gaining enhanced senses and dexterity, allowing them to perform a broader scope of manual tasks.
    This will change the nature of work across industries and occupations. In this course we consider some of the implications of this change and responses to it.

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