Friday, March 19, 2021

Indialics Public Lecture on Understanding Structure and Dynamics of 4th Industrial Revolution | 20 March 2021

Indialics Public Lecture on Understanding Structure and Dynamics of 4th Industrial Revolution | 20 March 2021 at 5:00pm IST
Zoom Meeting Number: 93573643808, Passcode 2021

Understanding the Structure and Dynamics of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Implications for India [1]
Abstract: Making the argument that understanding the structure and dynamics of the Fourth Industrial Revolution calls for diving deep into the earlier industrial revolutions; the presentation will first draw the salient characteristics from them to delineate some of the key aspects and learning. We argue that moving beyond the rhetoric of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, one can observe in the last decade or so new technologies are reshaping and challenging our engagement with technology as such. Emerging technology breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, the 'Internet of things (IoT)', big data, robotics, 3D printing etc. are changing the production value chain in advanced countries. 3D printing leading to additive manufacturing, global digital networks opening up access to manufacturing processes globally, IoT providing dynamic information exchanges between networked devices that are allowing to remotely connect, track and manage products, systems and grids; new possibility of changing hardware systems through software modifications, development of biological computational interfaces, etc. are defining new types of convergence between digital, physical and biological technologies. The implications of these changes is estimated to be huge particularly for developing/emerging economies. Some studies estimate that up to half of all conventional jobs will be threatened by automation over the next ten years. The integration that is happening in the cyber-physical system, between the digital and biological systems have far reaching consequences for human interface with technology, and the pervasive effect they will have in the economy and society.
Learning lessons from earlier industrial revolutions highlight the changes that happened in institutions, organizational innovations created an ambient environment for innovations to happen. Learning of various types, the punctuation of radical innovation with architectural and modular innovations are important when we understand the structure and dynamics of the Fourth Industrial revolution. But to comprehend it further, we argue the need to develop a new conceptual framework that draws from the Innovation Systems approach, STS among others. The new framework needs to provide an analytical framework that underpins ethical-legal-societal (ELSI) and environment-health-society (EHS) issues, regulation and governance aspects, and societal interface. It also has to accommodate the changing context of science, the Post-normal science thesis. Triple helix, for example, need to move beyond to Quad helix.
We can observe monopoly being created in the new technologies through patents and standards including anticipatory standards with new actors challenging the dominance of USA and Europe. China is leading the race with South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore making deep inroads. India has created a plethora of policy articulations (available in various policy formulations, in budget provisions, etc) for India's engagement with the Fourth Industrial revolution. The desire is 'not missing the bus' this time. However, we argue that these new articulations have to be situated within the developmental challenges and socio-economic context. The disruptions that will become more aggressive as new technologies get embedded requires a serious rethink in the policy articulations. The recent engagements show the large inadequacy of our institutions to address those including issues of regulation and governance and clarity in framing the rules.
[1] Sujit Bhattacharya, CSIR-NISTADS for presentation at the INDIALICS Public Lecture-7, 20th March 2021

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