Viewpoint: Africa Should Not Be Too Quick to Embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
By Karen Allen
It has been hailed as a transformative moment, one that will bring algorithmic precision to the decisions we make and automate virtually every aspect of our lives, from switching on the lights to predicting what food we want to eat.
But amid all the hype surrounding the fourth industrial revolution and its disruptive digital technologies, there is confusion – and potential danger. While tech is being rolled out at an exponential rate, infrastructural support and safeguards seem to be lagging behind, leaving the global south particularly exposed.
Not that you would know it. South Africa, which recently hosted the World Economic Forum on Africa, has made it clear it is pinning its hopes on the economic potential of the fourth industrial revolution. The president, Cyril Ramaphosa, told business leaders in Cape Town that the country stands ready to embrace the new age as a solution to pressing issues such as inequality and grinding unemployment, which currently affects a quarter of the working-age population.
Photo courtesy of Remko van Dokkum.