How will digital technologies, including automation and artificial intelligence transform the future of work? To what extent are we heading towards a jobless future with smart machines replacing a range of occupations including retail workers, teachers, and market traders? Or, are we on the verge of a jobs revolution offering new opportunities to transform our skills and working lives, create new human-centred business models, and deliver a shared sustainable prosperity?
These contrasting scenarios of the future of work offer vastly contradictory options on how the fourth industrial revolution should be managed and facilitated. Our observation is that there is an urgent need for a systematic analysis or evaluation of exactly how digital technologies will impact on skills, jobs and the wider economy by 2030 and beyond to guide societal actions. This is the goal of our three-year research programme (2019-2023) that seeks to develop the conceptual lens, tools and methodologies to interpret the fourth industrial revolution to support strategic choices that societal actors can make towards human augmentation, social inclusion and shared sustainable prosperity.
A global team of 21 researchers from the UK, Singapore, Denmark and Vietnam, together with research affiliates in China, Finland, Germany, Japan and North America, will undertake a systematic analysis across different national contexts using a range of methods and data, including ‘big data’.
Some of our Research Questions:
1. What new conceptual approaches and methods are needed to understand the impact of digital innovation on the changing relationship among work, education and labour market?
2. How are business strategies changing in response to digital technologies, and redefining how skills, education and occupations are set up in the fourth industrial revolution?
3. What are the challenges and opportunities for individual career journeys, lifelong learning, and individual employability?
4. How similar or different are national policy approaches to digital innovation, and which approaches have the best prospects of delivering economic transformation for a better future of work?
What sets us apart:
Our independent, in-depth analysis of current realities and future possibilities for a better future of work based on the following:
A systematic social science investigation of the impact of digital technologies on the future of work, education and labour markets studying a wide range of societal actors
A comparative study of national and international contexts and institutions in Asia, Europe and North America.
An innovative multi-method approach, including new technologies, techniques and data streams.
A focus on translatable findings with pathways from research to policy and practice.