Our increasingly digital and interconnected world is populated by the Internet of things, artificial intelligence, robotics, and virtual reality. Reflecting on the industrial revolutions of the past, starting in 18th-century England, the author describes not only technological issues but also the profound social and territorial upheavals in play. The fourth revolution compels us to rethink radically lifestyles, education systems, as well as modes of consumption, production, labour, and social interaction. The roles of media and politics are especially crucial in this context.
Patrizio Bianchi teaches Applied Economics at the University of Ferrara and is the Emilia-Romagna regional councillor for European development policies, schooling, vocational training, higher education, research, and labour.