Site Search Advanced Search

Emerging Technology Breakthroughs: How this will affect EU policy?

Year/Date: 04/04/2018


The fourth industrial digital revolution or ‘second machine age’ is both transforming and disrupting almost every human sphere of operation and influence. How will these new digital competences transform the ETF’s approach to lifelong learning? How can the EU create far-reaching policies to form a European Ideology on the Digital Revolution and ensure digital equality for transitioning countries?


These were among many issues discussed when Professor Juan Carlos De Martin, co-director of the interdisciplinary think tank, the NEXA Center for Internet & Society, visited the ETF. Professor De Martin, a lecturer in computer engineering at the Politecnico di Torino, argued how we might address this seismic shift by equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to understand these new waters in which we are swimming.

Negotiating a change of this magnitude does not simply require technical know-how, but a sense of history, of social consequence and a measure of critical thinking. As with the printing press, the TV and the telephone, history has taught us that all new technologies are met with doubt, skepticism and even panic; what is needed is to ‘empower the teachers’ to encourage students to recognize that technology is man-made and thus controllable.

Citing Marvin Kranzberg’s first law of technology, that ‘technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral,’ Professor De Martin invited the audience to consider the questions we might reasonably ask of technology and how we might subject it to ethical scrutiny – it is clear that technology constitutes both solutions and threats to sustainability but, what will prevail?

New policies and reforms should address why 'computers are special machines' in education and training, without which technology will remain frail and techno-determinism will be steadfast. Education needs to cover the conceptual and factual basis to the digital revolution and institutions have to address how to manage these enormous resources responsibly. The skills of responsible use of technology are key to the formation of a ‘first-class’ citizen and thus a good worker; in Professor De Martin's words ‘to use the Internet responsibly is to not just consume but to produce and communicate.’

Thanking Professor De Martin for his presentation, ETF Director Cesare Onestini said: The challenge of the fourth industrial digital revolution is to look at how the issues translate into policy and reforms. Mr Onestini will continue the discussion on the digital revolution and the future of education and training on April 11 when he is a guest speaker at the Nexa Center for Internet & Society.

More info:

Professor Juan Carlos De Martin bio 



Forgot your username or password?