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The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) ushers in a new era of cybersecurity, digital transformation, and strategic readiness, emphasizing the need for robust digital defenses, innovative business models, and adaptation to rapidly evolving technologies. From AI and blockchain to the Metaverse and 3D printing, these developments promise to reshape industries, enhance global connectivity, and create unprecedented opportunities for growth and efficiency.

Cluster Lead

Dr Sean Kruger

Senior Lecturer: Centre for the Future of Work

Cluster Sub-Topics


3D Printing

Create 3D objects directly from digital models, layer by layer, with incredible precision. This breakthrough technology has an impact on everything from prototyping and manufacturing to healthcare and education. 3D printing has already revolutionised how parts are designed and manufactured. Now, progress is being made in all of these areas, and 3D printing is showing promise as a solution to many of humanity's most pressing issues.


A decentralised, distributed ledger that securely records transactions between multiple computers. Consider it a shared database controlled by a network rather than a single person. Each transaction is validated and added to a block, which is then cryptographically linked to the previous block, resulting in a chronological and tamper-resistant chain. This technology supports cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but it has potential uses in a wide range of industries, including supply chain management, voting systems, and document verification.


The Metaverse is a network of persistent, shared virtual environments in which users can interact, play, work, and create as avatars. This immersive experience combines aspects of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the internet to provide a sense of presence and engagement that extends beyond the physical world. While there is no singular "Metaverse," several platforms and technologies are working towards this goal.


A broad field in computer science focused on developing intelligent agents, or systems capable of reasoning, learning, and acting independently. These systems can execute activities normally associated with human cognitive functions, including understanding languages, recognising objects, and decision making. AI encompasses a wide range of techniques and approaches, including machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing.

4IR Strategic Readiness

4IR strategic readiness involves individuals, organizations, and nations adapting to the opportunities and challenges presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). This involves developing relevant skills, embracing lifelong learning, understanding ethical considerations, adopting new technologies, investing in workforce development, developing future-proof strategies, investing in infrastructure, fostering innovation, and addressing societal challenges. This continuous process ensures a more inclusive and sustainable future.

Digital Transformation

COVID-19 has catapulted businesses into the digital-first world, but many have fallen short of their goals. Leaders' decisions now will determine future success for employees, customers, and partners. Digital transformation involves integrating digital technologies into businesses, reimagining processes, culture, and strategy to maximize the digital world's potential. It involves technology adoption, process optimization, cultural shift, and customer focus. Benefits include increased efficiency, innovation, customer engagement, and competitive advantage. Challenges include resistance to change, lack of digital skills, data security, and integration complexity.


Cybersecurity is the protection of internet-connected systems, devices, networks, and data from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction. It aims to ensure confidentiality, integrity, availability, and prevent cyberattacks, data breaches, system vulnerabilities, and human error. Measures include network security, endpoint security, data security, user education, and incident response.
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