Amid unprecedented global technological change, South African stakeholders need to ask how the opportunities presented can be leveraged to deal with the nation’s own unique and complex challenges.
As deliberations on technology and innovation continue, the question of how the opportunity can be used to deal with the “very challenging and complex tasks and difficulties” that specifically confront South Africa and its society – in particular, the most vulnerable and marginalised – increasingly becomes critical.
“We are challenged as we talk about technology and innovation to imagine the solutions in a different way,” said Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor on Thursday.
Speaking at the two-day Technology Innovation Conference, in Midrand, she said the country needed to be much more alert to the approaches, interventions and solutions appropriated by the developed world.
“These [interventions] may not provide us with the responses we need, given our particular circumstances. We need to ask ourselves a very different set of questions,” she told delegates on the first day of the conference.
While many people will inevitably be a part of the emerging technologies and take advantage of the opportunities, ignoring this fundamental element amid the rapid global technological changes will likely see many of the poor being excluded.
“How do we ensure what is happening is part of a radical and fundamental alteration in everybody’s lives?” Pandor questioned, pointing out that the country was not sufficiently focused on finding the solution to ensuring that no citizen was left behind.
“It is something we must address.”