Lights and shadows of COVID-19, Technology and Industry 4.0

by   Nicola Melluso, et al.

Scientific discoveries and technologies played a significant role in the digital revolution that occurred over the last years. But what is their role in the turmoil brought by the current pandemic? The aim of this paper is to show how digital technologies are operating during this first phase of the spreading of COVID-19. The study analyses and debates the current and potential role of digital technologies, focusing on their influence in the industrial and social fields. More specifically we used the blogging platform "Medium", which has seen an exponential growth in its production of articles over the last couple of months. Even if different from esteemed scientific sources, this platform provides a structure that suits our analysis. We searched how many times digital technologies are mentioned in articles regarding Coronavirus and, after collecting these articles, we collected page tags (comparable to "keywords" in scientific articles) and classified them (technology tags and non-technology tags), to create a graph showing the relation between them. This network allowed us to acknowledge and picture how technologies are currently debated. This was the starting point to discuss the key implications for an imminent future, and question about the impact on industry, society and labour market. What are the opportunities or threats of using technologies of Industry 4.0? Which are the needs rising because of the pandemic and how can technologies help in their fulfillment? How will the industrial scenario change after this pandemic? How will the labour market be affected? How can technologies be advantageous in the emerging social challenges?


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