New skills needed to keep up with change
Robots and machines already taking over jobs performed by humans
WITH the advent of artificial intelligence and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, companies need to improve the skills of their staff in order to remain relevant, says South African trend analyst Dion Chang.
He heads trends analysis company Flux Trends, which specialises in understanding the mindset of consumers and identifying unexpected business opportunities within shifting trends, so that global trends are relevant when they are adapted for South African businesses.
Chang, with film-maker Anant Singh and rugby personality Nick Mallet, was a keynote speaker at the business breakfast hosted by Standard Bank in association with Smile 90.4FM at the Cape Town International Convention Centre yesterday.
Chang said jobs were being absorbed by robots and machines.
In his presentation, he demonstrated some of the so-called co-bots already in use around the world, for instance, in the retail sector to help staff with duties such as stocktaking and helping customers to find products in shops.
He said that, in light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the technology space and with his company specialising in disruption, there was much fear about what would happen to people’s jobs.
Chang said technical skills needed to be advanced and companies needed to invest in upskilling and training their staff to stay ahead.
He cited an example of bike sharing in China, which was disrupting the bicycle industry.
People no longer need to own a bicycle to get around, but can share one by getting it from any location by clicking on an app.
He said another wave of disruption was how people were coping with digitisation, social media and other forms of communication.
Singh, the South African film producer of more than 80 movies since 1984 and producer of related his challenges during the apartheid years when he first started in the industry.
received South Africa’s first Academy Award nomination in the Best Foreign Language Picture category in 2005, the Peabody Award and an Emmy nomination in 2006 in the
Singh related how he did this by communicating through writing letters to Mandela while he was in prison.
NO GO: South Korean professional Go player Lee Sedol is seen on TV screens in the first of a five-game match against Google’s artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, last year. AlphaGo defeated Lee in the first game.