Human intellect and machines need to meet for fourth industrial revolution

Human intellect and machines need to meet for fourth industrial revolution

Dr Folasayo Olalere, a post-doctoral Research Fellow

Qhawekazi Memani

“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another,” is a quote by Klaus Schwab that was shared by Dr Folasayo Olalere at the Visual Arts and Design Department’s guest lecture hosted on 8 September at the K210 block.

Dr Olalere, a post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Visual Arts and Design, holds a PhD in Product Design from the University of Malaysia, Kelantan, where he engaged design as motivation to push cultural development forward and enhance the connection between indigenous values and modernity. His primary focuses are contemporary-cultural design, experience-centered design and computer-aided design. His research interests are the links between contemporary design, design process and indigenous knowledge systems (IKS).

In his topic: ‘The future of design in the fourth industrial revolution’, Dr Olalere said: “Technology enables us to do specific things and also shapes how we do them, thereby diverting our attention from other possible ways of doing things.

“Interaction with technology has mediating effects as it shapes the world we live in and shapes the type of knowledge we have about the world. It shapes our actions and behaviors. It supports and depletes our efforts to chisel out a good life for ourselves.”

“Technology has evolved over time and now heading towards the Singularity, where a rise in human intellect will be driven by integrating with machines. Human interactions with the digital/tech world are now being enhanced with inventions such as 3D printers, nanotechnologies, robotic and bionic, Internet of Thing and artificial intelligence. This advancement is also expanding the domain of design from ‘form-giving’ activities to a process of creating systems that support human interactions. Hence, diffusion will become the foundation for future design professionals. According to Asta Roseway (principal research designer, Microsoft Research), the role of future designers will be to act as a Fusionist, with the ability to think critically while working seamlessly across disciplines and blending their best aspect.”

“Therefore, collaborations are needed in terms of multi/cross-disciplinary research/projects that enables integration of human intellects and machine intelligence in the fashion design, graphic design, media and advertising, fine art and painting department within the Vaal University of Technology. With VUT looking into having a cultural village, amongst other plans, various departments can work together to develop installations that not only tell stories about South African culture, history and identity but also interactive and engaging” he said.

The lecture was closed with these remarks: “As much as these collaborations are needed, to what extent will the 4th Industrial Revolution make people blind to other possible ways of being in the world and to what extent will it blind design professionals to other possible ways of exploiting their creativity? Even though how the revolution will unfold is yet unknown, but it is important to stay aware.”

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