As part of making lives of citizens easier, scientists, researchers and politicians are working on mechanisms to ensure masses are exposed to modern technologies such as learning machines, artificial intelligence, and change of data within the business world, so that people work smooth and easily access information at the comfort of their mobile phones or through their portable computers.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is regarded as combination of digital, biological and the growing utilization of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, the internet if things, and advanced wireless technologies.
However, one will argue that majority of countries across the world are still under developed, and the effect of 4IR will halt the economy of this countries. For instance, the major retail store Pick n Pay is working on introducing systemically cashier counters, this means that no cashiers will be required at tills, this will result in huge job losses.
Another setback of 4IR is the underdeveloped education system in which is not in connection with new phase of technologies. Students are not exposed to artificial intelligence learning materials, tis can be proven with the arrival of the global pandemic, Coronavirus 19 that affected people’s lives and also halting the education system and the workforce.
The effect of Covid-19 humiliated several continents as they were not prepared for an online world. It exposed developmental challenges, like access to health care, service delivery, self-learning artificial intelligence, disorganized workforce and education. Most particularly, the African continent is historically proven that it has low levels of development, with this impact it has however failed to take advantage of technological advances to industrialize, pursue inclusive growth and attract investment.
The 4IR goes hand in hand with digitalized citizens, without these, the masses are still in dark. Countries have to prioritize communications technologies and electronics, industrialization and drive smart infrastructure.
The rollout of the digital technologies can empower the poor with access to information, job opportunities, and services that improve their standard of living. The positive part about 4IR is that it enhances the economic growth, digitization enables businesses to rethink business models that are more sustainable, impactful and connected to other sectors of the economy.
However, there is a major regulatory challenge involves increasing cyber security. Most African countries lack a comprehensive legal framework and institutional capacity to address cybercrime. Instead, efforts to prevent cybercrime are appearing at the more local level or are implemented by private sector actors themselves.
According to Brookings, between 2015 and 2016, there was a 73 percent increase in Information Security Management System-certified companies, from 129 in 2015 to 224 in 2016, with the majority in South Africa, Nigeria, and Morocco.
“Adopting widely accepted and appropriate norms and regulations, such as these, is a first step to increasing cyber security. At the same time, companies should invest in their employees to develop cybersecurity skills and integrate cyber risk protection in their decision making process,” Brookings reported.
More broadly, the 4IR can actually empower service delivery, through, for example, national identification and a new generation of biometrics that can centralize data for a variety of uses and users.