This conference done in partnership with The University of Business and Technology, explored the relationship between universities and the fourth industrial revolution with a view to universities shaping it more effectively and preparing society to make the most of it.
Unlike the first industrial revolution, which was driven by steam, the second by electrical power and the third by advances in electronics, automation, and digital technologies, the fourth industrial revolution was much more complex. It was driven by a disruptive fusion of new and existing technologies in physical, digital and biological realms which was having an impact on society globally at an accelerating pace. It was raising opportunities and issues about the nature of work, the use of technologies, economies, governance, values and responsibility as well as the quality of life and its impact on the planet.
Universities played a central role in creating the elements of the revolution and would play a greater role in developing it and enabling society engage with it so as to gain maximum benefit from it.
After a top-level review of how the fourth industrial revolution was developing, how Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries were viewing the revolution and how they were responding to it, the conference unpacked the particular opportunities and challenges which it presented to universities. It did this through the themes of research, teaching and learning, internationalisation, engaging with stakeholders and leading and reforming the university itself.
So, how did this conference help university leaders and those leading aspects of industry, commerce, the professions and government to make a difference?
By providing insights and solutions, the conference equipped attendees with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively shape the fourth industrial revolution and prepare society to make the most of it.