Today, leading independent think-tank Demos launches its interim report, Research 4.0: Research in the age of automation (pdf), supported by Jisc.
The report explores the development and impact of fourth industrial revolution technologies on the research sector and current state of play in ‘automated research’. It pays particular attention to artificial intelligence (AI) related techniques applied to modern research, from natural language programming to computer vision.
Dr Paul Feldman, Jisc’s chief executive, comments:
“The convergence of ‘Industry 4.0’ technologies like AI and the Internet of Things could transform the UK’s research sector – from how research is done to what research it’s even possible to carry out.
“Our vision is for the UK to be the best research and education nation in its use of digital technologies, which is why we’re supporting Demos’s work. We want to build on this report’s findings and help those working across the research sector understand and prepare for the new opportunities presented by these advanced technologies.”
Dr Sarah Main, CEO of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, comments:
"The government has set a target to transform our economy for the future by doubling research intensity over the next decade. Automation will play an important part in that, and this report helps us consider how to positively harness its potential."
Part of a two-phase project, this report sets out several questions for how best to forecast the impact of ‘Industry 4.0’ technologies on research in the next 20 years. The second phase will draw on the insights and expertise of researchers, technologists, policymakers, university and other civil society leaders to identify likely developments in automated research over the long-term.
A final report published in early 2020 will make recommendations to address the practical, ethical and economic challenges presented by ‘Research 4.0’ and help secure the UK’s position as a global research leader in the years to come.
To contribute to Jisc’s exploration of Research 4.0 or register for our upcoming research community workshop on 28 November 2019, visit our event page.