National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Implications of the 4th Industrial Revolution for SET, industry, society, and education #4IRsciZA

There are now powerful technologies that can make life easier and enable human achievements previously (and currently) thought to be impossible. Fundamental changes are anticipated to everything – industries, economies, jobs, transport, skills and education, to name but a few. The negative implications are however substantial – from job losses as a result of demand for high level skills, to the need for reams of new legislation and necessary changes to education and training.

To adapt to this changing world, and make good use of its opportunities, people from all walks of life and all sectors of society and economies need to collaborate and devise comprehensive – and shared – approaches. Scientists and engineers are crucial in the world of 4IR. Research is more critical than ever. Governments cannot on their own effect the necessary changes.

South Africa seems underprepared for the 4IR. It is not taking sufficient advantage of 4IR opportunities for establishing businesses and industries, despite its strong scientific base and innovative people. It also already suffers from a severe backlog in terms of its school education system and high level skills.


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