Founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Prof. Klaus Schwab, urged African leaders to put young people at the forefront of the 4th industrial revolution (4IR), saying that the world needed creative talent to shape the revolution.

 

Speaking at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) 6th Emerging Researchers Symposium in Pretoria today, Prof. Schwab said the world must embrace the 4IR as it would affect our lives for many years to come.

 

He encouraged governments, civil society and business to work together to ensure that the benefits of 4IR were distributed equally in society.

 

Prof. Schwab is in South Africa for a round-table discussion on investment with the Presidency. He has been at the centre of global affairs for decades and is convinced that the world is at the beginning of a revolution that is profoundly changing the way we live, work and relate to one another.

 

"It is just not enough to understand the 4IR. We all have to embrace it and that means we have to work together to jointly exploit new technologies for the future. Despite different opinions, the common interest should be to create strong, inclusive, and sustainable growth for the sake of the country," said Prof. Schwab.

 

Prof. Schwab has written a book in which he explains how leaders and regulators need to act now to ensure that 4IR technologies help create jobs and not leave millions out in the cold. The book is a sequel to his bestselling 2016 book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution. The new publication guides our understanding of 12 sets of emerging technologies from a systems perspective, and enables a better appreciation of the rules, norms, institutions and values that shape their development and use.

 

He said artificial intelligence could be used to solve many social issues – to deploy drones to deliver medicine in remote communities, and to leap-frog people's access to knowledge and health services, among many others.

 

The Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said the support for young scientists was one of the key objectives of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

 

"This symposium plays a critical role in the development of human capital that South Africa needs in order to address poverty, unemployment and inequality in the country," said the Minister.

 

The Minister said South Africa's efforts should be focused on priorities such as enhancing the competitiveness of the economy through smart manufacturing, including supply chain, logistics and infrastructure development; as well as the improvement of service delivery.

 

"Smart agriculture, drug development and testing, and precision medicine, as well as energy generation and storage, should be other priorities for technology investments," said the Minister.

 

CSIR CEO Dr Thulani Dlamini said the symposium on emerging research was organised to encourage knowledge sharing among South Africa's young scientists, engineers and technologists.

 

"It offers a platform to highlight the impact of their research through oral and poster presentations, as well as exhibitions," said Dr Dlamini.

 

Over the next two days, some of the research to be presented by the young scientists will include network vulnerabilities.  Cybersecurity specialist, Muyowa Mutemwa, will share his research on election hacking and give tips on how South African parties can protect themselves ahead of the 2019 general elections.

 

Dr Vhahangwele Masindi will showcase his research on the treatment of mine wastewater and how to recover minerals from acid mine drainage, and Dr Jerolen Naidoo will share her work on medication to treat cancer in South Africa.

 Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, Prof Klaus Schwab, addressing the CSIR 6th emerging researchers symposium

 

Issued by the Department of Science and Technology

 

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