Mitsubishi Sustainability lecture explores the promise and peril of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The world is experiencing unprecedented change in the way value is created, exchanged and distributed and this is driven by the technologies, business models and governance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, says Nicholas Davis, Head of Society and Innovation and Member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum.

More than 140 academics, students, researchers and industry guests filled Leighton Hall at UNSW Sydney to hear from Mr Davis for this year’s Mitsubishi Minerals Sustainability Lecture.

True to his values on sustainability, the lecture was livestreamed from Mr Davis’ office in Geneva, Switzerland.

Introducing the night’s guest speaker, Director of the UNSW Australian Centre for Sustainable Mining Practices, Associate Professor Dr Michael Hitch said:

“Nicholas Davis is an expert in this area, leading the World Economic Forum’s work on “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, focusing on how emerging technologies are disrupting industries, labour markets, societies and governments, and how technology can be used to empower communities to create a human-centred future.”

In his speech, Mr Davis discussed ideas on what constitutes an industrial revolution, what others before have meant and how we know we are in one now.

He said the Fourth Industrial Revolution was a concept that put people at the heart of efforts to understand the impact of accelerating technological innovation, driven by physical and biological realms.

Yet, he added, these opportunities must be tempered with caution, as transformative technologies shift power in unexpected ways, profoundly alter our relationship with one another and change our perception of the world around us.

Davis had a strong key message: sustainability is an ethical stance, and one which we need to think of as a core design principle as new technologies and infrastructure are developed.

The lecture included a cocktail reception and networking function, showcasing the work of UNSW’s current Mining Engineering students. Mr Davis also answered audience questions in an engaging Q&A session following the lecture.

The lecture was part of Mitsubishi Development’s support for mining tertiary education at UNSW through a range of initiatives, including undergraduate scholarships and an annual public lecture.

Click here to watch the lecture.

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