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Picture: 123RF/stephen2324
Picture: 123RF/stephen2324

As we look forward to another year of higher learning, MBA students will soon enter an era of unbelievable opportunities and monumental challenges: the smart machine age, or SMA.

The SMA will probably be as, or even more, disruptive for them as the Industrial Revolution was for their ancestors. Technology led by artificial intelligence (AI), smart robots, nanotechnology, the internet of things, increased global connectivity and computing power, biotechnology and genetic engineering, will redefine work and transform how businesses are staffed, operated, and managed.

Smart technology is already moving beyond manufacturing into the service industries and the professions, such as medicine, finance, accounting, management consulting and law. Businesses will reduce their headcount, because humans will only be needed for jobs that technology will not be able to do well: involving higher-order critical, creative and innovative thinking and/or emotional and social intelligence.

Joining Michael Avery for this discussion is Johan Steyn, a smart automation and artificial intelligence thought leader; Randall Carolissen, dean of the Johannesburg Business School; and Barry Dwolatzky, director of innovation strategy in the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation at Wits

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