– by Nontokozo Mthembu
According to Schwab: “The more we think about how to harness the technology revolution, the more we will examine ourselves and the underlying social models that these technologies embody and enable, and the more we will have an opportunity to shape the revolution in a manner that improves the state of the world.”- (Klaus Schwab 2016).
Last week UKZN Extended Learning was invited to the Richard’s Bay Industrial Zone, home to the most wonderful wetland scenery and unspoilt beaches, to host workshops on the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).
Dr Sonny Ako-Nai is an academic at UKZN and a business management consultant. He was also our guest speaker on the 4IR workshops at Transnet in Richard’s Bay. He highlighted that “we are living in a digitalised world as it is in the workplace already, employees are just not aware of it”. In the discussion Dr Ako-Nai highlighted the impact that the 4th industrial revolution has in businesses, he gave an example of how Transnet departments are using it. He stated that 4IR will bring a massive change in the company, employees need to be aware and ready for that change. He made an example of how some jobs will be lost and some new jobs will be created
In the discussion Dr Ako-Nai also spoke about how big corporates such as Amazon are already in the 4th Industrial revolution with their cutting-edge technology. As using Amazon web services is faster and convenient due to new emerging technologies. In addition to the Amazon example, he also spoke about BMW and how the artificial intelligence (AI) technology is becoming incredible, as there is a collaboration between digital and mechanical as AI technology is now replacing manual assembling.
As the session ended there were questions that were being asked by most employees as to what can be done to enhance or improve their ability to adapt to the 4th industrial revolution? They were also curious as to why people living in the rural areas are far behind and how their children will adapt to the changes? In regards to the questions, it is important for the Government to put more emphasis in educating communities especially in the rural areas and as well as business about the emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet and so forth.
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