We can either be on the precipice of significant change, innovation and changing the prospects of future generations for good or, more frighteningly, on the precipice of obsolescence.
Just 10 countries account for 90% of all global patents and 70% of all exports directly associated with the advanced digital production (ADP) technologies that are driving the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). Another 40 are actively engaging in these technologies. Still, the rest of the world remains mostly excluded from technological breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, cloud computing, the internet of things (IoT), advanced robotics and additive manufacturing.
Herein lies the problem innovation must be embraced and encouraged. The search for new and better methods, technologies and practices need to be foremost in our minds. The advance of technology including machine learning, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics is vast, rapid and unstoppable. A key challenge is that the country has been slow to nurture the skills needed for companies to compete and grow in an increasingly technology-driven world.
As we embark on the transition to automation, the reality is we are lagging behind our international competitors in the adoption of 4IR technology. In the South African and even African context, we need to rethink and readjust our attitudes towards innovations like AI and automation. We need to balance the real and tangible fear faced by millions of workers with the prospects of the labour force of the future.
Accurate data critical to Africa’s COVID-19 recovery
An inaccurate infection and mortality count is primarily due to an absence of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, according to Mindaugas Glodas, CEO at NRD Companies, a global IT and consulting group of companies specialising in e-governance.
Glodas thinks it is high time for CRVS to be included in post-pandemic recovery plans to be better prepared for similar situations in the future.
According to NRD Companies, the unexpected resilience of the African countries during the COVID-19 pandemic has left experts puzzled.
Some attribute the continent's success to its timely response and effective measures, whereas others emphasize its favourable climate or young population. However, a fair amount of cases and deaths are believed to be unreported, hence creating a warped perception of the pandemic's true impact on the continent.
The company believes this under-reporting is largely due to inappropriate testing rates and a wide-spread absence of efficient systems.
For example, in Ghana, each death is recorded by hand, which increases the likeliness of error, states NRD Companies.
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