Managing the Fourth Industrial Revolution GID4307 


Period 5A
Start Date 15 Apr 2024
End Date 8 May 2024
ECTS credits 4
Instruction language English
Coordinator Lili Wang 
Teaching methods Lectures; Project Based Learning; Presentations – Assignments; Papers; Presentations; Research; Skills; Work in subgroups
Assessment methods         Assignment;  Written Exam; Assessment – Final paper; Final take home exam; Presentation and paper; Take home exam; Participation; Written exam
Keywords Fourth Industrial Revolution; Emerging technologies; Innovation policy; Labour markets;  Risks of big data; Machine learning 


Full course description

New technologies associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution hold out great promise in helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by generating rapid, equitable and sustainable economic growth, by aiding the fight against climate change, and by improving health and education outcomes across the world. In equal measure, the development of this broad set of technologies – including 3D printing, nanotechnology, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotics, biotechnologies, neurotechnologies, virtual reality, energy capture, and blockchain – raises many economic, societal and ethical concerns. Concerns abound as to whether developing countries will be excluded from sharing the benefits of these technologies, for example, by limiting opportunities to develop through Global Value Chains, and to whether new technologies – and robotisation and artificial intelligence in particular – will deprive millions of their jobs, exacerbating inequality both within and across countries. Risks from big data also play a prominent role in the current debate. With the application of digitalisation technologies, many activities related to business and social lives can be captured and analysed and may  lead to legal or political challenges. These developments suggest that attempts to maximise the benefits of these new technologies while minimising the social costs will involve a coordinated policy response. 

This course identifies the opportunities and threats associated with emerging technologies and considers the appropriate policy responses to these new technologies. Week 1 will introduce the concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, identify the opportunities and threats from the associated new technologies, and discuss the emerging evidence on their impacts. In Week 2, the course will provide skill development sessions and discuss employment issues related to the emergence of new technologies. The first skill development lecture will demonstrate the collection and use of big data, and offer a general view on managing megadata in analysing science, technology and innovations. Week 3 continues with skill development lectures and also focusses on the dark side of innovation, discussing the “unintended” negative effects of new technologies and the risks and concerns of big data.  The second and third skills development lectures will introduce machine learning and provide an overview of methods from natural language processing. Finally, in Week 4 the course concentrates on forward-looking strategies. We will look at different policies in both developed and developing countries and explore how countries find their own strategies towards coping with the challenges imposed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

Course objectives

  • Explain what is meant by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the technologies that are involved and the potential opportunities and threats that these technologies have on society and development opportunities
  • Develop skills of detecting and assessing emerging technologies (e.g. MySQL skills for exploring patent databases)
  • Acquire knowledge on machine learning techniques
  • Identify the set of policies that are relevant to encourage the appropriate development of new technologies
  • Understand the impact of digitalisation on the economy and society
  • Explain the role of policy as a development tool in the context of emerging technologies
  • Identify the potential negative consequences to society and to individuals of emerging technologies and identify appropriate policy responses to mitigate these consequences




Recommended reading

Course reader