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Background Paper “Industry 4.0: Opportunities Behind the Challenge”

UNIDO brought together international leaders from the private sector, governments, and academia for an elaborate series of technical discussions on Industry 4.0 and its global implications from November 17th to December 1st, 2017. TIV was integral in laying the contextual foundation for the panel sessions that followed through the event’s foundational report titled “Industry 4.0: Opportunities Behind the Challenge.” The study established five fundamental components for orienting thought on Industry 4.0, including the paradigm, the impact on sectors, opportunities, challenges, and the notion of a human-centered governance model in Industry 4.0. With this framework in play, TIV’s experts helped deconstruct each component's unique facets, such as the changes in our schemas of “work” and human-technology interactions.

The investigation also delved into issues of economics (e.g., blockchain for supply chain), sustainability (e.g., smart grids), ethics (e.g., autonomous vehicle decision making), and law (e.g., the intellectual property surrounding software and the inherent ‘black-box’ code of machine learning). Many of these concepts, and their related opportunities and challenges, set the tone of the 4-day event, as multiple high-ranking public officials and leaders of some of the largest companies in the world (e.g., Siemens Vienna, Alibaba Group, Fraunhofer Austria Research GmbH) worked together to develop solutions for our digital future.

The background report produced by TIV continues to serve as a source of thinking and action on emerging technologies and inform the activities of UNIDO and member nations. TIV experts have since been invited to present the key findings at numerous international fora, such as the International Meeting in 2018, where we addressed Ministerial Senior Official Government Representatives and other global leaders.

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