Future of Industrial Work Conference: From Artificial Intelligence to Premature de-industrialization





UNIDO Headquarters, Vienna, Austria

VIENNA, 19-20 September 2019 – Two United Nations agencies will join an international network of academics, civil society organisations and policymakers to host a workshop on automation, artificial intelligence, and premature de-industrialization.

The interdisciplinary workshop, co-hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations University and the Global Inequality Dynamics Research Network will investigate the future of industrial work, including threats posed to developing countries by emerging technologies and ‘premature de-industrialization’.

With sessions focusing on automation and globalization, jobs and development, as well as premature de-industrialization and structural transformation, the event will feature researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Harvard and Johannesburg, as well as from the International Monetary Fund, the Overseas Development Institute and the World Trade Organization, among many others.

The workshop will open with a keynote speech from Margaret McMillan (Tufts University), followed by five subject-tailored sessions, and a policy panel chaired by Kunal Sen (UNU-WIDER). As such, more than 30 researchers from around the world will tackle the most pressing questions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

  • What is the impact of new technologies and ‘Industry 4.0’ on comparative advantage, industrial work and social and economic inclusiveness in developing countries?
  • What are the distributional and political dynamics of new modes of structural change? And what public policies are plausible and appropriate?
  • How are the manufacturing and service sectors interdependent? Does a strong manufacturing base support the growth of high-tech service industries? Can the growth of high-productivity service industries drive industrialization? What public policies are required to create synergies between manufacturing and service development for inclusive and sustainable growth?
  • What would make traditional forms of structural transformation – industrialization – more viable in the future years? What public policies should be discussed and implemented?


The event will feature a number of practical outputs, including media interviews with high-level researchers and a series of policy briefs, set for release in late 2019. For more details, including the two-day programme, please see the event homepage and follow the Twitter accounts of UNIDO and UNU-MERIT and the ESRC GPID Network.

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Note to Editors:

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalization and environmental sustainability. https://www.unido.org/who-we-are/unido-brief

The United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT) is a research and training institute of United Nations University based in Maastricht in the south of the Netherlands. The institute explores the social, political and economic factors that drive technological innovation, with a particular focus on creation, diffusion and access to knowledge. http://www.merit.unu.edu/about-us/.

The ESRC Global Poverty and Inequality Dynamics (GPID) research network is an international network of academics, civil society organisations, and policymakers. It was launched in 2017 and is funded by the ESRC’s Global Challenges Research Fund. https://www.gpidnetwork.org/about/

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of United Nations University - MERIT, on Monday 9 September, 2019. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/


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United Nations University - MERIT

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Future of Industrial Work Conference: From Artificial Intelligence to Premature de-industrialization