Shapira Organizes AAAS Panel on the ‘New Industrial Revolution’

Feb 19, 2017 | Atlanta, GA

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  • Philip Shapira

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Rebecca Keane
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The evolution of industry and manufacturing worldwide has been impacted by developments in digital technologies, artificial intelligence, and advanced materials combining to herald new ways of conceiving, producing, and using products and services across economies and in societies.

Philip Shapira, a professor with the Ivan Allen College School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech and the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research at The University of Manchester, convened a panel to discuss the possibility of a “new Industrial Revolution” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Boston, which was held on February 19, 2017.

Speakers from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with members in 35 countries, and Carnegie Mellon University joined Shapira and moderator Amy Glasmeier, a professor at MIT, to consider methods and design strategies to better address the implications of this revolution, with insights for science and engineering, policymakers, companies, and local communities.

Additionally, the panelists discussed the roles for science and technology policy, the importance of new institutional intermediaries, and the development of policy frameworks and governance systems that they believe can be effective in ensuring benefits are broadly and sustainably distributed.

“Pledges have been made in the United States to bring back jobs and growth by rebuilding American manufacturing, while the United Kingdom’s new industrial strategy is the backbone of its post-Brexit economic strategy,” Shapira said. “However, globally, the landscape for manufacturing and productivity is changing rapidly. We can’t recreate yesterday’s factories.”

“Innovation and technology are opening up new opportunities to dramatically restructure the way in which industry operates, including through automation, digital manufacturing, and new business models,” Shapira adds. “In developing policies for manufacturing, we need to anticipate how industry is transforming and focus on how best to harness new approaches to benefit workers, businesses, customers, and communities.”

According to Shapira, in the U.S. and other developed economies, there is anticipation that this transformation will restore competitive advantage and favor older industrial locations, with new digitally connected factories linked into local circular economies. Developing economies, which have traditionally relied on lower wages to attract routinized mass production, are also adopting new manufacturing strategies. Several countries have roadmaps for next generation manufacturing, including Germany (Industry 4.0) and China, while the U.S. is pursuing a series of new advanced manufacturing initiatives.

However, the new transformation of industry raises many concerns. These include issues related to the reshaping of jobs, the participation of smaller firms, sustainability, and other societal goals. The panel explored how evidence-based analysis and anticipatory approaches can be used to design and guide the new transformation in industry.

Learn more about the panel here: https://aaas.confex.com/aaas/2017/webprogram/Session15149.html

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