Coming Soon: Future of Work v/s. Future Workers
Deepak Maheshwari
THE GLOBOTICS UPHEAVAL: GLOBALIZATION, ROBOTICS AND THE FUTURE OF WORK by Richard Baldwin Oxford University Press, 2019, 304 pp., $29.95
December 2019, volume 43, No 12

While the term Industry 4.0 did arguably emerge by way of a High-Tech strategy report developed under the aegis of the German Government in 2013, it came into the general parlance only when Professor Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, published his seminal book The Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2016. The popular belief is that the first one started with the steam engine around 1700, the second one with electricity, railroads and telecom in the nineteenth century and the third one with computing around 1960-70 while the fourth one began in the early 2010s.

Ever since, and aided by new developments such as autonomous vehicles, chatbots, facial recognition, deep fakes and high fidelity of real-time machine translation on the go, policymakers and business leaders around the world are worried about the future of mankind, more so in terms of what it means for the future of work.

What type of skills in the future would be needed and rewarded? And, pray, what would become redundant?

But haven’t we been here earlier at the time of the first, second and third industrial revolutions? —and if it is really different this time, how and why? How are the digital technologies impacting society? Last but not the least, how should humanity prepare itself for the evolving future that is both ‘inhumanly fast’ and ‘unbelievably unfair’?

Richard Baldwin, a well-known researcher and Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Developmental Economics in Geneva, delves into these profound questions in this fascinating book that analyses the issues, challenges and opportunities at the interface of technological development, role of human skills and workers within the respective political economy of the day and place.

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