“Technology has changed so much that we no longer have control over it,” said Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg. Prof Marwala uttered these words during a Public Lecture that was organized by University of Venda (Univen) on Friday, 19 July 2019. This Public Lecture on the 4th Industrial Revolution and Society took place at Univen Auditorium. 

When delivering his public lecture, Prof Marwala said people need to be efficient in all they do if they really want to succeed in the 4th Industrial Revolution era. He suggested that there should be a universal basic income for all who have been born because life will be difficult in future, but a state must be in good condition before it can introduce this Universal basic income. “We need to tax the robots and to prepare ourselves for the 4th Industrial Revolution. The 4th Industrial Revolution is here, and we need to be more prepared for it otherwise people will continue losing jobs.” Prof Marwala continued to express that technology has changed so much that we no longer have control over it. He said Facebook is collecting data in South Africa, but it doesn’t even have the rights to do that in this country. There is Netflix which makes most people not to pay TV licenses anymore because it gives people access to watch anything they want to watch. It has crossed the borders and there is no control over it and most people in this country are using its services. “We also have to think about that.” 

“Social media is taking away our freedom because we cannot hide anymore. We need to start collecting our own data. He said there is no Wikipedia in Xitsonga and Tshivenda. “We need to think about starting this kind of project.” He said Univen should introduce a degree to offer such education. 

“Some jobs will disappear while others will emerge. Jobs such as Data Scientist were not there in the past. If this country does not have young people who study very hard, we will continue to be consumers and our country will forever remain poor. If we don’t handle this well, it will take us a lot of years before we can recover.” Prof Marwala highlighted that, we are living in the country in which almost all that we wear and what we eat are not from South Africa. We need to start thinking about making a change about this situation. 

“Tertiary institutions need to start teaching about artificial intelligence and political scientists of today should know how to analyze data.” He called them the Techno political scientists. Prof Marwala also mentioned that, Engineers should understand the society if they want to succeed in this field. 

“South Africa needs disciplined teachers and learners. We also need to work on our education system to fit in today’s needs if we want to survive in the 4th Industrial Revolution. We are a society that is more interested in entertainment than hard work. We need young people who are hungry for knowledge. South Africa doesn’t even have a single car model that it owns. Not even one cellphone. South Africa needs to produce products if indeed it wants to be relevant in the 4th Industrial Revolution era.” 

When welcoming visitors and introducing Prof Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni said it is an honor for Univen to host this kind of public lecture. He further applauded Prof Marwala for agreeing to deliver this lecture at Univen. 

Director Research and Innovation, Senior Prof Georges-Ivo Ekosse, proposed a vote of thanks. In his message, senior Prof Ekosse said indeed the 4th Industrial Revolution is here and there is nothing we can do to stop it. He said people need to be careful in the decisions that they make today. 

Murendeni Luhalima from Shayandima who is doing her honours degree in Psychology said she has learned that the 4th Industrial Revolution exists, and people need to prepare themselves for it. She explained that technology will assist us to improve our lives, “we should not see it as a threat instead we should embrace it.” 

Attendees of the Public Lecture on the 04th Industrial Revolution and Society listening to Prof Marwala 

Dr Nthambeleni (right) shaking hands with Prof Marwala (Left)during the presentation of token of appreciation 

Issued by: 

Department of Communications & Marketing 

University of Venda 

Tel: (015) 962 8525 

Date: 26 July 2019 

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