Africa has reached a digital age where everything has become digitalized. This has influenced the way people communicate, handle business, network and lastly how they handle data. Fourth revolution technologies are disrupting technologies that are going to change how our day to day tasks are handled.
In most fields such as the manufacturing, we have automation taking over and Robots controlling the entire manufacturing chain. But this does not go without with other underlying technologies such as Artificial Intelligence which is an enablement for the computer systems to perform activities that only human beings could perform. This shows that the machines are being equipped with skills that can enable them to do work that was previously done by human being.
Data science being another field of the revolution technologies is a field that is yet to be explored in Africa. This can mostly be attributed by the fact that, digitalization is just happening, and a lot of companies are migrating from the traditional way of capturing details in books to having a system that can capture those details. The fact that we don’t have enough storage space for data can also contribute to lack of data in many companies. In places where data has been leveraged, we have seen companies increasing revenue and making positive decisions that are influenced by data i.e. data-driven decisions.
The third technology which is going to bring revolution and disruption to industries and automation is the Internet of Things. IoT constitutes of a system of interrelated computing devices that communicate to each other through internet hence enabling automation dependent on the data collected. There is also a huge market for 3D printing. Most people are not familiar with this. This can be attributed to facts like internet penetration, skills in the sector as well as equipment’s needed to implement this.
The fourth technology is blockchain. We have seen the success of the technology in a digital currency such as bitcoin. This has brought mixed feelings looking at the bitcoin value 2 months ago and the current value. This raises major questions such as is this a good technology to adopt? But there are also other opportunities that we have not explored, blockchain can be used to track land ownership, it can be used to track copyright in music etc. These are projects if implemented will impact the societies in a positive manner.
In this article, I will be focusing on the effect of these technologies on jobs. Continent preparedness as well as the education sector preparedness.
The most common answer of the impact these technologies have on jobs, is always a negative reason. This is because the low-level workers are going to be displaced. But I would like to look from a different aspect on quality of Jobs versus quantity. Most of the jobs that the technology will take over are the manual jobs that most of the employees are paid mere salaries and forced to work overnight, this are the jobs that the employees can be sacked anytime, employees don’t have insurance, incase of an accident the companies will give one a small compensation and one must stop working. As much as this job are seen to benefit the lower class and the rising middle class, there is a big question whether jobs are supposed to make us unhappy or happy? Are this people satisfied with what they are doing? Is there a fulfillment?
In arguing that technologies will bring a positive impact to the job market. The jobs created will be of high quality, human beings will do less work and machines will handle the bigger part, also a lot of people will not be subjected to the unfavorable working environment, the only downside in this is the fact that these jobs will require news skills. This raises a big question, are our universities or education institution preparing students for this?
Through pedagogical teaching techniques applied in the education institutions such as self-pace learning, imbedded learning, facilitation and not lecture, exposure to sciences in high school are some of the cutting-edge technologies that show preparedness in the education sector. But this can only work if the system is implemented in public universities as well.
A great approach to ensuring that even students who are in public universities benefit in preparation to adopt new technologies is fostering a new partnership between the industries and the academia. This partnership could entail a possibility of students working on real research projects as part of their curriculum. This will strengthen students skills as well as a create a channel for students to identify the type of skills required in the industry. Another approach is a collaboration within industries. This will create awareness and knowledge among the people in different sectors hence bringing an understanding of different industries and how they can foster partnership to ensure employees have a wide range of skills.
A lot of this facts shows that adopting the 4th industrial revolution technologies is not a major problem; the problem comes with the preparedness in the different sectors. Watch out for the next article, I will be looking at how well the countries in Africa and the sectors are well prepared to adopt this technology. Till next time, happy reading ?