4IR to create more jobs than it takes over

Johannesburg – A TECHNOLOGY expert has urged society to examine the brighter side of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) than to focus on the millions of jobs it will displace.

Byron Clatterbuck, CEO of SEACOM, said it was therefore unnecessary for the world to be depressed about the future of work.

He quoted predictions from the World Economic Forum (WEF) that robots would displace 85 million jobs by 2025.

“… … but the good news is that they (4IR) are also going to create 97 million new roles,” Clatterbuck said.

“To alleviate the fears that ‘robots and machines will take our jobs’ must become a priority if we are to build a resilient, responsive skills base.

Clatterbuck argued that society has recently become so concerned about the potential of the 4IR and what it means that it has not noticed that robots, machines and technology play an important role in lives.

“We have been giving our unpleasant, less desirable work to machines for years without complaining about it.”

Clatterbuck said new jobs will be created and will be created to facilitate digital migration and to deliver goods and services more efficiently, and in many cases, more securely.

Nevertheless, the executive noted that South Africa could not take on the digital world without the skills and infrastructure.

Without proper roads, installing Internet fiber would be difficult. Without proper internet access, it remains impossible to participate in the digital economy. “This creates an inequality gap in skills development and access to technology,” Clatterbuck noted.

He said urban areas could easily join the digital migration, while rural communities are at risk of falling behind because they do not have the necessary knowledge, skills and infrastructure.

“Education is essential to upgrading the population and bridging this gap. This is where the government can enter the potential to provide these opportunities,” Clatterbuck concluded.


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