In this report, the Social Market Foundation examines the potential benefits that could be realised from the roll-out of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the workplace.

The world of work is about to go through a period of profound change. The rise of robotics, big data and artificial intelligence in the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (“4IR”) is set to dramatically alter the way we live, work and learn.

Done right, 4IR could dramatically improve our working lives - boosting wages, putting an end to the UK’s underwhelming productivity levels and leading to a greatly improved work-life balance. With its world-leading universities, there is scope for the UK to become a global leader in some of the high growth industries of the future such as artificial intelligence. Increased use of telecommunications technologies such as high-quality video conferencing could do away with tiring business trips which keeps workers apart from their families. And a growing ability to undertake work flexibly and remotely will make it much easier for carers, parents and the elderly to continue to participate in the labour market. There is scope to use 4IR to strengthen family life and close the gender pay gap.

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