Last Friday, about 500 people gathered at Gallagher Convention Centre to discuss the future of the SA economy in the digital age. The gathering was the result of the work of Fourth Industrial Revolution SA (4IRSA), an initiative between the universities of Fort Hare, Johannesburg, Wits, the government and major private-sector players such as Telkom and Deloitte SA.

The digital economy summit was the first of its kind for SA, though similar gatherings have become commonplace in many other countries across the world. Which is not to say that South Africans do not talk about the digital economy, or the broad set of economic, sociopolitical and technological changes commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). We do...

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