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Afraid a digital world means less human intelligence? Don’t be

Last year’s highly publicised Artificial Intelligence (AI) debate, between tech giants Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and more recently, Bill Gates brought to the fore some questions at the back of everyone’s minds: how sustainable is humanity with AI ever encroaching? Is technology taking over? Is there cause for alarm?

The impact of technology is being felt in every aspect of our lives, almost unbeknownst to us. Last year’s Black Friday highlighted how dependent we have become on technology to get what we want, as systems and servers dropped like flies under the pressure of user demand. In fact, online shopping has become so prevalent that seemingly indestructible retail giants have fallen prey to its takeover. The Internet has become our on-demand source for everything, and connectivity to the Web is now seen as a basic human right, akin to water or electricity.

This pervasive reliance on technology lends a certain credence to fears that humanity is slowly being engulfed by technological innovation. Even cyber security, our defence against the rising tide of cybercrime, is consistently viewed with wariness, thanks to its association with Big Brother like controls and connected everything.

Fear, however apparently substantiated, is debilitating. Fear stems innovation and enables nothing. To avoid returning to the “dark ages” before the Internet; in order to drive rather than curb the transformation evolution we are experiencing; we need to figure out how to lean into this fear to create opportunities that enable us to surmount it.

Truthfully, this is not the first time we have faced radical technological changes that impact humanity with such pervasive force. This pace, depth and breadth of current changes, however, is unique. Innovation is happening at such a rate, the landscape constantly changes and we, as a people, have become more adaptable than ever before.

Proponents of the digital age, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Cognitive Learning, are all going to be such integrated parts of life that they will no longer be terms we speak of, but simply how we live. Business models will be forced to change, propelling organisations into the future through automation and IoT. This of course, catches on the fear around the impact on jobs.

The question of the impact on jobs is one which is raised time and again, particularly in the face of AI and robotics. These technologies, while replacing many of the more onerous and automatable functions, also serve to open up a world of new career possibilities. However, replacing people with machines is not where the growth is.

The answer becomes how to use technology to augment human capability, not replace it. To leverage innovation to enhance tasks where intuition or human experience are hindering the goals of zero defect quality and optimal efficiency. To supplement those daily responsibilities carried out by people that can better serve in areas where human intervention and activity is still critical. To focus on core business.

Many organisations are already embarking on upskilling their workforce, and retooling them to address functions that require more neural thinking and human interaction. In this way, people are uplifted and offered new opportunities to expand their capability. Organisations then engender an environment which is favourable towards - and not resistant to - innovation.

leads us to the question of intelligent technology creating a lazy and un-intelligent society. I believe the opposite is true. As technologies such as IoT, AI and analytics pave the way to a better way of life for us by removing our focus on those tasks which can easily be automated, it also promotes a society which centres on learning, innovation and developing elevated skills. When we no longer rely on people to carry out menial tasks, we can push them to move beyond the mundane - to transcend to a more effective, more efficient, more intelligent species.

We can fear. We can block change and stem the tide of innovation. Or we can embrace it, be proactive, and evolve.

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Flying car to possibly roll out next year

A Chinese startup has developed a flying car that it plans to roll out as soon as next year.

EHang Inc’s E-184 drone can carry one passenger in its small cockpit, but the firm says it’s working on a model that can carry two. EHang’s chief executive officer Hu Huazhi says they’ll be in operation as “taxi drones” in Dubai in 2018 — as long as they get approval from regulators there.

Four battery-powered propellers lift the drone off the ground, and it’s equipped with fully-automated navigation, according to CEO Hu. Passengers select a pre-programmed flight path and then strap in for the ride. The E-184 has a cruising speed of up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) an hour and can stay in the air for 25 minutes, the company says.

It’s currently being tested at EHang’s headquarters: a disused theme-park on the outskirts of Guangzhou, southern China, a city that’s at the vanguard of the country’s push to move away from cheap, low-end manufacturing and toward cutting-edge technology.

“We will start mass production of our passenger drones at the beginning of next year,” Hu told Bloomberg TV. “We also plan to install fully automated production lines to enlarge manufacturing capacity in 2018.”

EHang has big ambitions — it wants to develop a network of taxi drones around the world. The company plans to sign deals in Saudi Arabia, Singapore and “several European cites” next year, the CEO said.

 

 


 

Source

BusinessTech

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SA tech companies that would have more than doubled your money over the last 5 years

The Sunday Times newspaper has published its list of the Top 100 Companies in South Africa, showing which JSE-listed tech companies have delivered the highest share value over a five year period.

The list is compiled by looking at all the companies listed on the JSE, and ranking them by the total money one would have earned if they had invested R10,000 in their shares in 2012.

Companies that do not meet the minimum threshold of R20 million in value traded in a year are excluded.

In previous years, ICT firm EOH emerged as the leading tech company in the country by this metric; however, for the first time another group – Adapt IT – has shot past EOH, delivering a compound annual growth rate of over 51%, taking a R10,000 investment in 2012 to R78,654 in 2017.

EOH has slipped to 17th on the list, delivering a CAGR of just under 27%, to transform R10,000 into R32,902.

Internet and media giant, Naspers, is the second-highest ranked South African tech company, with its N shares rocketing from R489 per share in 2012, to over R2,940 in 2017. The companies stake in Hong Kong internet group, Tencent, drove the growth, which delivered a CAGR of 43.6%, taking a R10,000 investment in 2012 to R69,879 in 2017.

Only three other tech and telecoms companies were ranked within the top 25 – with Naspers followed by Telkom (14th), EOH (17th) and Blue Label Telecoms (23rd).

Vodacom was ranked 51st, followed by Remgro (which has a stake in Dark Fibre Africa and Seacom) at 89th, and Net1 UEPS at 98th.

The table below is the full list of tech and telecom companies that made an appearance in the top 100 ranking.

With the exception of Remgro and Net1, all the tech companies featured would have more than doubled the initial R10,000 investment over the 5 years.

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Source

BusinessTech

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Propak Cape showcases new technology and latest products

  • Published in Videos

Propak Cape has already attracted hundreds of visitors who want to learn about the latest developments and technology in packaging and related industries. Cabletech Marketing has sold a Haitian flagship 90-tonne injection mounding machine at the show, and Adex Plastics and Machinery has also sold a machine from their stand. Many other exhibitor sales are expected during the week.

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