Foto: Patrick Weyeneth, NMB.

Digitalisation, Clouds, Smart Factories and 3D printing: Industry 4.0 is set to revolutionise the world of work. Although these transformations may seem unprecedented, they are, in fact, part of a historical continuum.

Since the 19th century, four revolutions have profoundly transformed work in the industry. In this context, the history of Biel (canton of Bern), an industrial city, is symbolic: the introduction of machines, thermal energy, assembly line work, computers, automation, industrial robots.

During the last three industrial revolutions, each new technology has profoundly changed the way of working.

How have workers positioned themselves in the face of technological change? How has work changed over the four revolutions? How many jobs have disappeared, and what new jobs have emerged?

And, finally, what are the contributions and new challenges of Industry 4.0?