Always Reachable

We're standing on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution. But only a minority is actually profiting from it. Eva Susanna Kunze invalidates the promises of the Industry 4.0 in her talk "Colleague Robot – Industry 4.0 and its social effects on inequality and society" in the "Work" track.

After the revolutions of the steam-powered engine, electricity and the automatization of the world, we are standing on the brink of the fourth revolution: that of the cyber-physical systems, says Eva Susanna Kunze. There are hardly any insights into just how much digitalisation or virtually linked machines will change our everyday life Kunze stated in her panel on Industry 4.0. As a member of the "Fortschrittskolleg Arbeit 4.0" think tank (Progress College Work 4.0), she's especially interested in how working conditions are changing. Internet-ready devices such as smartphones or tablets make it possible for the working population to be available at all times and be able to work from anywhere. But Kunze sees this sceptically. "Only a minority profits from this." 85 percent of people who already work from home do not have their home-office time contractually regulated. Work and leisure time intermingle and the private sphere disappears. This means that we don't know how much we work and when we should actually stop. Up to this point, the promises of the Industry 4.0 have just been wishful thinking, according to Kunze.