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Future of work... AfricaCom to explore impact of AI, robots and machine learning

By , Portals editor
South Africa , 18 Oct 2019

Future of work... AfricaCom to explore impact of AI, robots and machine learning

Deseré Orrill, Chairman, OLE!CONNECT, a company that is described as a pioneer in the field of personalised, data-led marketing, is scheduled to chair the Future of Work session at AfricaCom 2019, to be hosted at the CTICC in Cape Town on 13 November 2019.

According to a statement released by organisers, Future of Work @ AfricaCom 2019 will seek to unpack a wide range of issues at the top of the agenda for business owners and industry leaders.

The organisers add that it is not just employees who face challenges in the new workplace frontier, as employers have to get a handle on issues such as, understanding what the future of work means for employees and themselves, how to achieve executive support for new workplace initiatives, and how technology can play a game-defining role in human resources.

The rise of robots, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) means that employees "are in panic mode" about the state of their future career prospects.

"New technology continues to burst out daily to change the way we work, and on the surface, this automation of processes previously done by human hands would seem to present companies with the opportunity to downsize. The spectre of an apocalyptic, dwindling future workforce is naturally terrifying for most people, especially in Africa, which is traditionally manpower-centric. But, the reality is that these super-intelligent machines and robots might well be doing humankind a massive favour," reads the statement.

Orrill adds: "Machine learning will enable technology to replace the work of hands and the workplace of the future will probably include much more head-work, so it doesn't necessarily mean that machines will reduce the number of jobs available, they will change the way we work and the definition of what 'work' is."

Orrill highlights the fact that AI and ML cannot replicate human creativity, sensitivity and sensibility, which are essential ingredients in all creative and caring professions, along with those where human intuition and the fabled '6th sense' play a role.

"These functions and skills just can't be replaced by machines, although machines and AI can certainly offer incredible support to the humans involved in these professions. We also believe robots and automation will contribute to the creation of positive, dynamic and fluid workplaces of the future. In fact, in advanced economies where greater use of robotics, automation and AI is prevalent, unemployment today is at the lowest it has been in decades. So, the future of work is not a gloomy wasteland... on the contrary, it's a bright and promising place."

*ITWeb and ITWeb Africa are media partners for AfricaCom 2019.

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