The age of ICT/AI based industry 4.0 is fast unfolding in front of our eyes, obliging major changes in our accustomed ways of life. The changes in question embrace both positive and negative dimensions. The former include the likelihood of energizing the economy through an almost totally automated, thus greatly more efficient, production system. Freeing people from bone breaking labor or mind boggling repetitive chores for living will be another positive aspect. The latter, on the other hand, could include the burden of large scale unemployed labor and the challenge of safeguarding their livelihood on an on-going basis, as well as that of maintaining their psychosocial stability in a context of sudden freedom from hitherto highly structured working life.
Given the still early phase of industry 4.0 era, its socioeconomic and cultural impact cannot be fully foreseen at this point. Nevertheless, such general trends as cited above make possible the projection of certain major social issues associated with it. The issues would include: the likelihood of further widening the schism between the two ends of income spectrum and the problem of reducing the gap between them to an optimal level; the prospect of massive unemployment and the problem of creating one or more socio-economic and cultural safety net(s) capable of supporting their lives as full-fledged members of society; and the evolvement of a social milieu in which all its members will enjoy fair and equal quality of life.
The present article propose seven conditions as basic as well as urgent policy requirements prior to entering the industry 4.0 era, in earnest. The conditions in question are: unified social and economic policies and their implementation practices; flexible employment structure that will regard “free-lance” but productive activities as an official category of employment so as to entitle the free lance workers to participate in the work-related social security system; removal of elements in the wage increment, taxing, commodity pricing, social security systems and other practices of social investment that disfavor the marginal income sector and, thus, contribute to the widening of the income gap; render social measures dynamic and heuristic in order for the measures to correspond closely to live reality conditions; social policies based on firmly established and realizable social values.