Picture: 123RF/ISMAGILOV
Picture: 123RF/ISMAGILOV

An important conversation at a policy and business level, as we start to pick through the ways that Covid-19 has changed the business environment forever, is the impact it has had on labour. The pandemic caused the future of work to arrive early. And in a country with worrying levels of unemployment, we must ask to what extent the pandemic-induced regime of remote work, artificial intelligence-enabled software and automation is here to stay.

Two ways businesses have historically controlled cost and mitigated uncertainty during recessions are by adopting automation and redesigning work processes, which reduce the share of jobs involving mainly routine tasks.

It’s a subject that was tackled by local, renowned, artificial intelligence (AI) academic and expert Prof Tshilidzi Marwala in his new book, Closing the Gap: The Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa.

Marwala is the vice-chancellor, research and internationalisation at the University of Johannesburg, and a deputy chair of the presidential commission on the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

Michael Avery sat down with him and Johan Steyn, who is with IQbusiness, and chair of the Institute of IT Professionals SA special interest group in AI and robotics, to talk about AI and the future of work after Covid-19.

Michael Avery takes a look at artificial intelligence and how we’ll work after the pandemic

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