The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Trends and Impacts on the World of Work

  • Sang Yun KimEmail author
Reference work entry


The world is at the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Already we are using 3D printing to manufacture cars, drones to deliver products, and even talking with robots. In the late 1990s, the world was shocked by the emergence of the smartphone equipped with computers, phones, and cameras. Now, just 20 years later, we are at the brink of using bio-implantable communication devices. The emergence of such new technologies is dynamic, and it is bringing about radical and holistic changes in the way people live, work, and conduct relationships. These changes are found everywhere, not just in certain elements of society or markets, and are occurring simultaneously to create a whole new order. That’s why we call the 4IR a revolution, not just a change or transformation.

This chapter analyzes the current state of dynamic change and an unpredictable future, discusses both positive expectations and negative concerns and implications on societies as humankind has been rearranging its rules and orders to accommodate such technology-led developments. In particular, this chapter examines changes in technological environment, industry and business developments, and changes in economic processes such as shared economy and platform economy.

The implication of these changes to role required of humans, its corresponding capabilities and required skills and the structure of labor market will be discussed. And finally, under these circumstances, the role of education will be also discussed.


4IR Industrial Revolution World of Work Role Required of Humans Shared Economy Platform Economy 


  1. Brynjolfsson E, McAfee A (2014) The second machine age: work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies. WW NortonGoogle Scholar
  2. CPS Public Working Group (2016) Framework for cyber-physical systems release 1.0. Accessed 1 Jan 2018
  3. Frey CB, Osborne MA (2013) The future of employment: how susceptible are jobs to computerization?. Oxford Martin. Accessed 1 Jan 2018
  4. Gartner (2017) Top trends in the Gartner hype cycle for emerging technologies. Accessed 1 Jan 2018
  5. Howard J (2015) 7 top futurists make some pretty surprising predictions about what the next decade will bring. Huffington Post. Accessed 1 Jan 2018
  6. Sniderman B et al (2016) Industry 4.0 and manufacturing ecosystems: exploring the world of connected enterprises. Deloitte University Press. Accessed 1 Jan 2018
  7. The Economist (2012) Map of the internet. Accessed 1 Jan 2018
  8. World Economic Forum (2016) The future of jobs: employment, skills and workforce strategy for the fourth industrial revolution. Accessed 1 Jan 2018
  9. 2016 Robot Art Competition. Accessed 1 Jan 2018

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.POSCO Research InstituteSeoulSouth Korea

Section editors and affiliations

  • Margarita Pavlova
    • 1
  • Salim Akoojee
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.The Education University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong
  2. 2.University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.University of NottinghamNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations