Work in the digital age — Paris conference

Challenges of the fourth industrial revolution in Europe

Event Details
8:30 am - 5:45 pm

Auditorium Marceau Long
20 avenue de Ségur

Botond Horvath /

France Stratégie, Das Progressive Zentrum (Berlin) and Policy Network (London) are organising a conference on the future of work in Paris on Friday, 6 July 2018.


At the heart of the discussion of three expert round tables, we will be examining how governments across Europe can best respond to the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution. The issues discussed will range from talks about reforming the welfare state, providing high-quality education and training, improving social dialogue, debating tax reforms and finding new rules for the platform economy.

At the conference, we will launch and discuss the key insights from an edited volume Work in the digital age: challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, which is to be published by Max Neufeind (Das Progressive Zentrum), Jacqueline O’Reilly (University of Sussex) and Florian Ranft (Policy Network) in May 2018.

This new book draws on a wide range of international expertise, contributors examine important policy challenges arising from the transformation of work as a result of the introduction of digital technology at work. Authors in this volume discuss the effects of automation, platform business models, stagnating productivity, increasing regional disparities, and rising levels of inequality within and between countries. They consider how to unlock the vast economic and social potential of new technologies and the implications for policy reform to meet these challenges.


8:30 am

Welcome and registration

9:15 am

Opening remarks

French Labour Minister (tbc)

9:30 am


Work in the digital age. Convergence and diversity of approaches in Europe

Max Neufeind, Jacquelline O’Reilly and Florian Ranft

10:00 am


The destructive creation of employment: a European perspective

This roundtable offer insights into the current state of the debates about the future of work in Europe, what the challenges and solutions are, and who the main actors are that may promote and precipitate change. We will identify a number of responses where new coalitions of actors emerge to develop existing concepts of work and labour relations and address some of the negative consequences of digitalisation at work.

Followed by roundtable debate and exchange.

11:30 am

Coffee and tea

11:45 am


Putting artificial intelligence to the workplace

This panel focuses on understanding the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on industries, businesses on workers. As starting point speakers will discuss how AI is impacting everyday work life and which tasks and jobs are most likely to be affected. It will also explore the human element in machine learning and how and which policies can be designed and implemented to harness new technology possibilities.

Followed by roundtable debate and exchange.

1:15 pm

Lunch break

2:30 pm


Promises and perils of work in the gig economy

At the heart of the discussion, we will be examining the policy responses to the growth of digital platforms that mediate work and transform its nature. Platforms may drive innovation, support the creation of new jobs and increase opportunities for flexible employment. Yet, depending on the national regulatory framework, they potentially erode the standardised relationship between employers and employees that is needed to finance and deliver social protection and benefits in most advanced economies.

Followed by roundtable debate and exchange.

4:15 pm

Coffee and tea

4:30 pm


Tax and social policies: addressing income and wealth inequality

This panel will discuss how the consequences of new technologies for tax and welfare systems. How can policymakers design a tax system that addresses the emerging and widening disparities in income and wealth. Will the income and wealth gap continue to widen and how can productivity of digital innovation be shared more widely? Speakers will also explore the role of the welfare state in this process; what its priorities are and how resources should be allocated to span effective safety nets, provide people with high quality health and social care and pensions and smooth work transitions.

Followed by roundtable debate and exchange.

5:45 pm

Conference closes