Are we ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Are we ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Dr. Barnabas Gatsheni addressing the audience

Qhawekazi Memani

The Unit for Preparatory Programmes (UPP) at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) hosted its very first public lecture on 16 October in Auditorium 100.

Guest speaker Dr Barnabas Gatsheni discussed the topic: “The fourth industrial revolution vis a vis the future of work and its implications on teaching and learning.”

He unpacked the theories underpinning each industrial revolution and highlighted that humans and machines are now competing in the fourth industrial revolution which will leave a displacement in terms of jobs.

“Most jobs that we know of today will be done by intelligence systems. This will potentially result in a job carnage of proportions that we have not seen before. This then necessitates that universities need to interrogate the current curriculum and hence the graduate profile we aim to produce. What does this say to current students? What does this also say to current teaching and learning strategies?’’ he asked.

“Creativity and high skills in maths, statistics and capability to pre-process and analyse data are needed and its quality becomes important. More creativity and innovations in things we do are needed. We need to create models, come up with frameworks and design that will compel prospective employers to employ us. In the fourth industrial revolution there is no time to build training systems. All that is needed is to jump in and compete. Data is powerful in this revolution as it gives an edge and insights over competitors and the person with artificial intelligence controls the world.

“The economy calls for knowledge and varsities need to respond. The world, on the other hand, no longer waits for its graduates. Most of the time, graduates find themselves doing jobs out of their fields of study. This then compels universities to examine how they make their graduates employable and the role lecturers play to ensure that they produce innovative graduates. The current education system needs a convergence of multi disciplines. We live in a world of super complexity; students need to be educated on jobs that do not exist as yet,” he said.

He furthermore said we need to capitalise on opportunities presented by industrial revolution four and not think that we can compete with artificial intelligence, but rather beat it with our emotional intelligence.

* Dr. Gatsheni obtained a Ph.D. in Computational Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh in 2001 and an MSc in Electronic Engineering from the University of Nottingham. Among other companies he has served, he worked for VUT as an Associate Professor before moving to the University of Johannesburg where he currently serves.

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