Speech at Heinrich Böll Foundation

10/22/2016

The Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is close to the Green Party, had invited to Berlin, joined by the federal association of Green entrepeneurs and the association of Green unionists. The topic of the seven-hour session: "Update in the operating system - Good work and ecological management in the digital future". I was asked as a keynote speaker to look into the future and explain the role of Industrie 4.0. This half-hour speech was recorded and can be seen here: Video in German language

Video of the speech in German language

Subsequently, there were two panel discussions with audience participation in which the opportunities and risks of digitalization were illuminated on the one hand for the working world and on the other for the environment. The audience, with about 100 participants considerably larger than in the last comparable events of the Böll Foundation, came from all sectors of society. There was also no danger of a one-sided technological treatment on the part of the participants, from the deputy IGM chairman and the professor of business law through the entrepreneur and the analyst to the Bundestag delegate and the representative of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

In the discussion about the working world of the future, the question of how we should react as a whole to the elimination of many of the existing jobs was a focus. For example, the necessary change in school and university education towards system development and the strengthening of in-company training efforts. But there was greater interest in the so-called click-workers and their social security, or the question of whether digitalization will lead us to increasingly bad jobs, such as food delivery boys (Foodora) or Uber. Possibly this was caused by the fact that the manufacturing industry, representing around 24 percent of the industry location Germany, is hardly present in Berlin anymore.

The question of the ecological benefits that can be drawn from the digitalization of the industry brought some important findings. For example, it has been discussed in detail how the cities can become smart cities, based on the intelligent connection of the transport and the moving people, taking the port of Hamburg as a model for the cities. But also the fact that the digitalization of industrial processes has already set many legal limits as standard, because the companies have automated their consideration and adherence.

Of course many questions remained open to discussion. But it was a sign that digitalization (also of the industry) has arrived in the middle of the society. In any case, no one brought forward a reason to leave techniques and technology mainly to the companies and their engineers.

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