EXCLUSIVE: Africa must brace for takeover by machines

May 26, 2017 • Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Companies, Enterprise Solution, Exclusive, Innovation, Software, Sponsored News, Technology

SAP chief commercial officer, Franck Cohen. Picture by Savious Kwinika, CAJ News

from SAVIOUS KWINIKA, recently in Orlando, Florida, USA
ORLANDO – AFRICAN governments, besieged by spiraling protests over inept service delivery, have been urged to embrace technology to improve governance systems and ensure the burgeoning youth population has the requisite skills to compete in an increasingly digital world.

Analysts meeting at a key summit in the United States of America, said in the wake of service delivery protests and job losses, socio economic strife lingered if government and stakeholders insisted on outmoded operational systems at a time the world was embracing technology.

“Otherwise, the worst will hit the entire continent,” said technology expert, Franck Cohen.

In an exclusive interview on the sidelines of Systems Applications Products (SAP) Sapphire Now + Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) annual conference in Orlando, Florida, Cohen, who is SAP chief commercial officer, said the continent should move with speed to adapt to such modern technologies as artificial intelligence (AI).

He recommended curricula at tertiary education in tertiary institutions should incept artificial intelligence lest the graduates who successfully completed their academic training found themselves lying idle without jobs as robots takeover.

“It is true to say, low skill type of jobs are at risk the moment AI is continue to grow. The reality is that the main manual tasks that are down today in data enterprise can potentially be replaced by automation and machinery capabilities,” said Cohen.

He added: “…..and I am talking about the years to come, not even talking about the long future, so, it is true that many functions will probably disappear,” said Cohen.

The expert’s sentiments follow research and analysis indicating that by 2025 the world would have a fully automated accounting system dubbed “manual intervention”, which would render such jobs as accounting irrelevant.

“Precisely accountants will be jobless by then,” Cohen said.

“The same applies to call centres. The digital assistance and digital robots will replace call centre operators.”

“So,” added Cohen, “On one hand it is true, on the other hand the machinery is also bringing in a lot of opportunities for people for new jobs to be created.”

He said on a different note new opportunities and new possibilities would be created specifically for technology analysts, data scientists and new crop of people to build algorithms, hence the recommendation that government and stakeholders focused their attention to equipping youth with technology skills.

“It is also an opportunity for Africa and some for universities to adopt those technologies (artificial intelligence) and build the skill that the world will need very soon when those technologies are deployed across the globe,” said Cohen.

Cohen said AI would also eliminate key board for computers.

“This means those computer operators not upgrading their skills would be irrelevant at a short distance to come.”

“Very soon, people will talk to computers. Users will not have to type anything on their keyboard but the system will recognise their voice and recognise their order,” Cohen projected.

He said countries that adopt modern innovations as AI would realize a 2 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) hence African tertiary institutions must priorotise on AI.

Cohen said companies and individuals have to adapt new ways of thinking otherwise resisting the machinery would render such businesses not competitive or get to do their duties while those resisting such changes would be simply get overtaken by innovation.

The expert said African governments and businesses could only overlook AI technologies at their own peril.

“AI is being neglected in Africa yet it requires new generation of scientists and students to develop these technologies. Africa should not miss this,” said Cohen.

The artificial intelligence are the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

– CAJ News

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