Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution. It calls for a dynamic transformation of how all aspects of business and production are done. A new wave of global technology will change global production. Internationalization, in all aspects of business and industry, will be the norm. Countries can no longer remain confined within their borders but must become citizens of the world. Leaders in this new era will need to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and be able to interact across the globe. In short, they need to be liberally educated.
Where once there were farm workers, textile workers, and factory workers, they are being replaced by robotic automation. The low cost of human labour, an advantage in the past, will no longer be an advantage in the future. Automation will enable an extreme increase in production speeds and a reduction in production costs. Professor Tran Dinh Thien, Director of Viet Nam Institute for Economics, has said: ”The fourth industrial revolution is not simply a concept. It has spread widely like a fire and has strong impacts on our lives. Industry 4.0 will even have a strong influence on our lifestyles, our communications and even our (humankind’s) values.” As a result, all aspects of society will be affected.
But how should this impact higher education? Dam Manh Duong, Director of the Department of High Technology under the Ministry of Science and Technology, urges that “we need to change our human resources training, starting from general education to tertiary education.” Future workers will need to be highly trained in the emerging technologies but also, as importantly, in the values associated with using those technologies. In the future, we must not only possess the ability to develop the technology but also know whether, when, and where to use that technology. That kind of thinking is both reflective and interdisciplinary.