Café Collaborations | The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Future of Labour

03/05 17:00-19:00
Hyb4City 3.patro A
Vstupné: Zdarma
Café Collaborations | The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Future of Labour

Can we replace humans in production? How do technological innovations in industry affect the persons involved?


Tilman Becker, Director of the Research and Innovation Centre on Advanced Industrial Production (RICAIP)

Lucie Trlifajová, Researcher at the Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences


Filip Rambousek, Science Affairs Department, German Embassy Prague

The Czech Republic belongs to the most industrialized states in the world, with some 37 % of its employees working in the industrial sector. Germany closely follows with 27 %. Yet, the nature of labour is changing due to technological innovations. Latest advancements in the field of artificial intelligence also influence other related sectors such as logistics. How far are the two neighbouring countries with the implementation of Industry 4.0? What can we learn from each other in this regard? Is the current automation an opportunity or a threat to jobs? And how will all these changes affect the workers themselves?

Tilman Becker is a researcher and expert in the field of Industry 4.0. Since 2020, he is director of the RICAIP Centre for Advanced Industrial Production at the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRC) in Prague. With 25 years of experience at DFKI, Germany’s largest artificial intelligence research center, he has a broad knowledge of digital transformation, natural language processing, cyber-physical manufacturing systems and human-machine interaction research.

Lucie Trlifajová is an anthropologist and analyst of social policies at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences and at the Centre for Social Issues SPOT. In her research, she focuses mainly on poverty, inequality, changes of the labour market, social security, and other related topics such as precarious work or indebtedness. Ms. Trlifajová has published widely on these issues in Czech as well as international academic journals.

Structure of the debate

Input (2x 15 minutes)

A short statement on a personal bilateral experience regarding Czechia and Germany, respectively academic exchange.

Tilman Becker

  • Industry 4.0. Terminology. What exactly does it mean? What does it encompass (automation, use of AI…)? Which were the three preceding industrial revolutions?
  • How far are Czechia and Germany with the implementation of Industry 4.0?
  • Industry 4.0 in Germany and Czechia – similarities, differences, collaborations, joint projects
  • What is the role of RICAIP in enhancing the fourth industrial revolution? What kind of research do you carry out?

Lucie Trlifajová

  • Historical lessons: do technological innovations bring about social advancement? In other words, do industrial workers benefit from technological progress (if we look at the previous industrial revolutions in the 19th and 20th century)?
  • Specific situation of Czechia and former GDR: what happened with industry & industrial workers after 1989?
  • What have been the impacts of Industry 4.0 implementation on people working in industry? What are the major trends of the last 10–15 years (unemployment, nature of work, working conditions)?
  • Where do you (as a sociologist) see major threats // opportunities related to the implementation of industry 4.0?

Moderated discussion (~30 minutes)

  • Trlifajová: general overview of the situation of people working in industry in Czechia and Germany (numbers, conditions, major trends)
  • Becker: social dimension as an integral part of industry 4.0? Legal question: who is responsible for possible failures in production caused by AI?
  • Trlifajová/Becker: role of the state (T: in ensuring that workers won´t be left behind; B: in providing support for innovations)
  • What will be the main trends for the next 20-30 years? How far does the potential of automation go?
  • What would be the ideal outcome of industry 4.0 (economically, technologically, and socially)? How big are the chances that we really get there? What are the key factors for success/failure?
  • To what extent can we replace humans from (industrial) production?

Q&A (~30 minutes)