Singapore University of Social Sciences

New Empires: The Reach and Frontiers of the Tech Sector (SCO103)


The digital revolution when compared to previous industrial revolutions is evolving at an exponential pace. The speed of its breakthroughs is unprecedented, the disruption it creates transforms almost every industry in every country, and the impacts on individuals, civil societies and governments demand personal and collective responses. This course surveys the dominance and impact of the tech sector in contemporary society within the political and historical contexts of Industrial Revolution 4.0 through selected case studies of these digital tech titans/giants – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Tencent and Alibaba – and compares them with other entities such as the state and corporations. It also outlines the challenges and discusses how we can benefit from the digital revolution such as IoT, robotics, and big data. Students will also discuss the opportunities offered by the emergence of tech titans, how government and society can regulate some of the externalities such as cybersecurity, privacy, impact on consumption, digital gap and unemployment.

Level: 1
Credit Units: 2.5
Presentation Pattern: Every semester


  • The Economic and Social Impacts of Tech Giants
  • Social Impact: Dominance and Impact of Social Media
  • Regulation of Big Data
  • Use of Big Data
  • Power and Inequality
  • Collective Responses: IoT, Tech Giants and Robotics

Learning Outcome

  • Discuss the roles played by the US and Chinese states in their digital economies and their impacts on contemporary global economy, politics and social issues.
  • Describe the emergence of the US and Chinese digital tech giants.
  • Illustrate the essential features that constitute big data and its application in the US and Chinese contexts.
  • State why there is much attention paid to the issue of privacy in the use of digital technologies.
  • Outline arguments related to government policies for retraining workers to match new skills needed by the digital economy amidst the restructuring of traditional jobs.
  • Explain the essential reasons why tech giants are nimbler and able to move faster in capturing market shares, and apply them in specific case studies.
Back to top
Back to top