Publications | 02 Feb, 2021

Working Paper 2: Education, technology and the future of work in the fourth industrial revolution

Phillip Brown
Programme Director

It is widely believed that digital technologies are transforming all aspects of economy and society, driven by advances across a number of interdisciplinary fields and new technologies such as, artificial intelligence, robotics, additive manufacturing, synthetic biology, and smart materials. Public debate has largely focused on the threat of large-scale technological unemployment, although similar concerns were evident in earlier industrial revolutions. This raises the questions of what, if anything, is significant or ‘revolutionary’ about today’s developments in digital innovation and what are the implications for the future of work, education and labour markets? This working paper will outline different interpretations of the fourth industrial revolution and the role of digital technologies in (re)shaping the education-work relationship. It will present two contrasting theories of ‘labour scarcity’ and ‘job scarcity’, to highlight why we need to rethink education and the future of work, and to challenge some of the key assumptions that inform current public policy in both Western and Asian countries.


Working Paper 2 by Phillip Brown. Download full working papehere

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