Pre-publication articles and reports are in progress or to be published as part of wider research initiatives within the Centre.
Recent commentary has extolled the virtues of a so-called Third Industrial Revolution (TIR). The First Industrial Revolution emerged in England at the end of the 18th century and was powered by steam; the Second Industrial Revolution emerged in the US at the start of the 20th century and was powered by electricity (the First and Second revolutions are machined based and fueled by carbon); the Third Industrial Revolution emerges globally, will be digital, bio-genetic and post-carbon. The paper suggests that the digitisation of manufacturing processes (in ways that mimic the digitisation of other sectors of the economy); the emergence of large scale 3D printing/additive manufacturing technologies using new materials (carbonfibre composites) and bio-genetic and nano-technologies; and a profound upscaling of labour-replacing automation technologies in other sectors of the economy, will pose numerous challenges and opportunities for young people’s education, training and work in the coming decades.
The paper argues that a concern with a ‘lost generation’ in the wake of the 2008–2009 GFC, while challenging and profound, should be ‘augmented’ with a longer-term view of the futures that we make and leave to young people. Futures, if made in the image of a rapacious capitalism, will be concerned mainly with costs/efficiencies/profits and the commodification of everything, fuelled by the Internet of Things, and digitally and bio-genetically energised.