Industry as a way of seeing the world

In La Religion industrielle (2017), Pierre Musso argues that industry is a way of seeing the world.

Pierre Musso is a philosopher who holds a doctorate in political sciences and is a professor of information sciences. A great deal of his work is devoted to social imaginaries, modeling and networks.

What is your opinion of Industry 4.0?

Pierre Musso: If we talk about the fourth industrial revolution, that means we consider that the first industrial revolution began in Europe around 1800, which is the standard way of thinking. However, that’s not really true, because there had already been a first industrial revolution in the 13th century, with water systems and water mills, urbanization and major tracts on technology. But also, industry should not be reduced down to manufacturing activity. The etymology of the term “industry” comes from the Latin prefix “in,” meaning the inner self, vision and the verb “struere,” to build. The idea is that of projecting outwards what we have in our inner selves. Industry is a way of seeing the world. It’s an alliance between setting things down formally, modeling, thinking and action.

How does this alliance fit with the contemporary idea of the renaissance of industry?

PM: This idea of the renaissance of industry, or renaissance through industry, seems much more interesting to me because it takes a holistic view of considering the role of industry within society. It’s easy to understand the metaphor in relation to the original Renaissance and the transition to modernity in Europe: scientific and technological breakthroughs, the development of perspective, the discovery of the Americas and the arrival of the Reformation, helped by improvements in printing and the spread of the Bible. Gutenberg’s success is also the success of an industrialist and an entrepreneur. Today’s industry has, of course, the ability to design products and services, but also thinking, creation and fiction, and that’s why it’s the main source of producing social imagineries.

Every major industrial revolution was accompanied by a shift in the way we see the world, and in philosophy, the arts, politics, sciences and religion.

Corporate Report > 2018 > We will be there tomorrow > Industry as a way of seeing the world > Image > Dassault Systèmes
Pierre Musso
Doctor of political sciences and professor of information sciences

Who are today’s creators of imaginaries?

PM: The great creators are always artists, researchers and industrialists in the broadest sense of the term. In other words, they garner skills that, from the trampoline of their internal genius, project outwards to produce works. Software and audiovisual programs and fiction are now drivers because they produce representations of the world and generate new worlds. Every major technological or industrial revolution was preceded or accompanied by a shift in the way we see the world, and in philosophy, the arts, politics, sciences and religion. We are in a period of great change and revolution, where the main actors are those who manage to bring together arts, sciences, technology and industry. I think that Dassault Systèmes is one of those actors. What really strikes me about this company is the place of research in its thinking and management; in other words its capacity to formulate and reformulate questions before replying immediately through solutions.

How will work change because of this industrial renaissance?

PM: Let’s get away from opposing views of catastrophes or utopias. Studies on the use of robots and their impact on jobs differ greatly in their conclusions and are linked to how we see the man-machine relationship. The reality is, there will be great changes in skills, activities and work, and the most repetitive tasks, which are often those of the least skilled people, will go. So jobs will go. On the other hand, new activities and services will be created. So the question of skills and know-how, and of their transmission, is key. This is a question of training, both initial and continued. A massive investment in training and reorientation is needed. I like the idea of bringing the school into the company and the company into the school. Interdisciplinarity, which will broach different types of capabilities, is set to become more widespread and this mix will enrich us greatly

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