Edition 3

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Marwala emphasizes the importance of social sciences in the FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

“So, although many jobs will be replaced by AI, it can never replace those that require the human touch. Thus, the social sciences remain an important component in technology-oriented courses”, he said, adding: “When I studied medical engineering, I also needed to incorporate human resource sciences into the degree. Social sciences are important for engineers serving in a public role especially.” The VC’s reading club Prof Marwala is spearheading several important programmes at UJ this year, including the VC’s reading club in which students are invited to read books recommended, including AI Super-Powers China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee; 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari; Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman; The Fourth Industrial

The human touch is as important as ever in the technological age, says Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala The University of Johannesburg is keenly embracing the opportunity to create courses that prepare new generations for future jobs that have yet to be invented, driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, says UJ’s Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Tshilidzi Marwala. Advancements in technology “Just 28 years ago, there was no Internet, no cellphone. Consider how dramatically the world has changed since that time, and how quickly it is changing now. UJ, as an international university, must adapt to this change, and prepare our graduates not only to survive, but to thrive”, said Prof Marwala in an interview with Alumni. Fortunately, thanks to advanced technology today, these adaptive changes at UJ are well within reach financially, assured Prof Marwala. “It is much easier to write a piece of software than create a manufacturing firm. The initial capital outlay was much higher for the first, second and third industrial revolutions”, he said. Addressing the position of Africa in the technological age, Prof Marwala gave the example of M-Pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service invented in Kenya. “Kenya was the first country in the world to invent digital money. It is a good example of the innovation that can and does happen on our continent”, he said. The importance of the human touch The questions facing universities, meanwhile, are: How many jobs are going to change and what are they? What jobs will be eliminated, and how many new jobs will be created in future? “A doctor today is not the same as a doctor 30 years ago. Today, artificial intelligence (AI) can read and interpret medical images, and a doctor needs to understand this technology. More than this, a doctor needs empathy to deal with patients, something AI cannot replicate.”

Revolution by Klaus Schwab; Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution requires us to be continual learners, and that means constant reading and learning. The only thing that comes without effort is sleep”, he said. Another important project is UJ’s Africa Biography Programme, the writing of 10 books over five years that will feature South African luminaries such as Helen Suzman and Miriam Makeba. An international approach In maintaining UJ’s track record as a top university, Prof Marwala said the heads of departments were all looking to improve student success, at the same time the University was focusing on furthering its international profile by attracting more students from all over the world. “The general idea is to bring students here from countries as far as China, while continually improving our online courses, which are available across all the faculties”, he said. “The aim is to have 20% of staff to be international by the year 2025, and 15% of UJ’s students to be international by the year 2020”, he said.



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