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Call for Papers | The Industrial Revolution 4.0: Preparing for Disruptive Technologies in 21st Century Asia

May 31, 2017

We are entering into a Fourth Industrial Revolution where ICBM technology (I.O.T., Cloud, Big Data and Mobile) and A.I. systems (Artificial Intelligence) could become the logic of operation that sustains the world’s economy. Automation and data-mining-based prediction technology are revolutionizing the business ecosystem. Asian governments have been developing policy frameworks to incorporate big data, IoT and Cloud: e.g. Singapore’s ‘Smart Nation Initiative’ (2014), China’s ‘Made in China 2025’ (2015), India’s “100 Smart Cities” project (2015) and South Korea’s ‘Comprehensive Countermeasures on Artificial Intelligence Society’ (2016).

However, as demonstrated by the U.S. government’s concern expressed in its white paper, ‘Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence’ (Oct 2016), A.I. and related technologies are innovative but can also be disruptive. The ways in which societies adopt new technologies often re-structures socio-cultural, political and economic conditions, which in turn change the employment landscape. With the emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we are expecting the creation of large numbers of lower-skilled workers and older people who need retraining, which will produce social problems.

According to the UN specialised agency International Labour Organization (2016), nearly 60% of employees in Southeast Asian regions would leave fearing for their jobs “in the next couple of decades” because of atomization. Although concerns about the impact of these technologies on social inequality are increasing, we have not yet explicitly heard the voices of those in precarious conditions who are potentially vulnerable to these changes. We have also not seen any detailed government plans explaining how this impact will be mitigated; how will governments protect and enhance the welfare of their citizens, minimize social inequality and address the technology gap? The dominant social discourses on ICBM, A.I. and Industry 4.0 tend to focus on the techno-economic-centric consideration of the embeddedness of new technology and measuring the sustainability of society. These discourses often follow Western development trends as a basis for discussion.

The aim of this conference is to explore the social implications of emerging and disruptive technologies in Asian contexts, focusing on Southeast Asian regions in particular, taking into consideration the different levels of ICT embeddedness (e.g., infrastructure readiness). This conference will update ICT social and cultural studies in contemporary Southeast Asia at comparative levels.

Deadline for submission of proposals: 31 May

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Call for Papers | The Industrial Revolution 4.0: Preparing for Disruptive Technologies in 21st Century Asia


May 31, 2017