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Clock ticks to ‘loss’ of jobs to machines

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Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence

from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – SOUTH Africa must race against time to upskill its population.

This is the year when a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines will displace millions of jobs globally approaches.

That is projected to displace 85 million jobs by 2025.

Then, 97 million new ones may emerge, that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines, algorithms.

“(The year) 2025 is just three years away. The future is knocking at our doors,” said Caissa Veeran, head of partnerships at HyperionDev.

The company is Southern Africa’s leading provider of tech education.

“Considering the opportunities that are currently available in the tech space in the country, the time is now for South Africans to be upskilled and armed with the tools to participate in the jobs of today and tomorrow,” Veeran said.

The mention of machines displacing some jobs in South Africa is a sensitive issue in the continent’s most advanced economy as it already battles unemployment, youth bearing the brunt.

As Veeran pointed out, according to Stats SA, the unemployment rate for those aged 15 to 34 years is 52 percent.

This unemployment rate ranks among the highest in the world.

Veeran has meanwhile urged the private sector, schools and universities to work together to empower locals to make the most of the vast opportunities in the tech sector.

This follows the realisation that although the tech sector holds job opportunities, South Africa faces various challenges that have severely restricted the number of young people equipped to enter the industry.

These include lack of access to technology, connectivity, education and the high cost of data.

Those in rural areas are mostly disadvantaged.

Veeran believes companies have a role to play when it comes to addressing job creation and specialised skills development.

She said employers must focus on a continuous data rescaling and upskilling for existing employees to keep up with cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI) programming and data science.

The government has recognised the gap between high demand for skills and insufficient supplies, hence it has embarked on extensive skills development programs aimed at training one million young people by 2030.

Training will be offered in robotics, artificial intelligence, coding, cloud computing and networking.

– CAJ News