Although South Africa faces many challenges, it is in a good position in terms of its uptake of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), University of Johannesburg Institute for Intelligent Systems director Professor Babu Paul said on Tuesday.
“While many ask what will happen to the poor once 4IR happens, maybe the question to ask is what will happen to the poor and marginalised if 4IR does not happen.
“We cannot expect any good or improvement to happen if we do not take part in 4IR – it is only to our disadvantage,” he stated in a presentation at the South African edition of the Africa Communications Week (ACW).
He further pointed out that emotional intelligence, people management, critical thinking and service orientation were among the key skills needed for the effective adoption of 4IR.
In April, President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed members of the Presidential Commission on the 4IR, which will assist government in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital industrial revolution.
The task of the commission, which will be chaired by the President, is to identify relevant policies, strategies and action plans that will position South Africa as a competitive global player.
The ACW is a global campaign that is held every year to encourage Africa-focused communications professionals to connect, engage and reflect on the role of communications in Africa's development.
Endorsed by professional body, the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa, with input from event partners such as the State-owned Government Communication Information System and media company Jalang Peo besides others, the South African edition of the ACW unpacked South Africa’s uptake of the 4IR.
Hosted for the second year running by public relations (PR) company PR Trends ZA, in partnership with marketing agency Brand SA, this edition took a closer look at the intersection between technology, ethics and the practice of PR and communications.
“We really interrogated what 4IR means for our sector,” PR Trends ZA MD Nelisa Nqulana commented on Tuesday.
Various editions of the ACW will be hosted in different cities across the continent until May 24.