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Goldstuck shares 4IR research findings on SABC TV news

Following the release of findings from a new research project on emerging technologies, World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck spoke to SABC TV’s Francis Herd about the state of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in corporate South Africa.

Click below to watch the interview, and to read more about the report.

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The technologies that make up the so-called fourth industrial revolution (4IR) have yet to be adopted with any enthusiasm by South African enterprises.

This is a core finding of a new research study entitled “Fourth Industrial Revolution in South Africa 2019: Enterprise uptake and expectations for emerging technologies,” conducted by World Wide Worx in partnership with SYSPRO.

The research delved into current and planned uptake of emerging business technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, virtual and augmented reality, the Internet of Things, and blockchain.

“The most surprising finding was the lack of enthusiasm for artificial intelligence, despite the marketing hype that suggests every large business is embracing it,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx and principal analyst on the 4IR research project. “Only 13% of corporate South Africa is currently using AI and, of the rest, 21% plan to adopt it in the next 12 to 24 months.”

A significant obstacle to adoption, the research reveals, is the cost of skills for implementing AI. Of those not using it, 43% cited cost as the key reason. Ironically, as awareness of AI grows in South Africa, enthusiasm seems to diminish.

“Traditionally, intended uptake of new technologies shot up once education, awareness and knowledge increased,” says Goldstuck. “Now, however, we are seeing the flip side of the coin. A year ago, 63% of those not using AI said they planned to use it in the future, and not a single company cited cost as a reason not to do so. A year and much hype later, the market seems to have woken up to the realities of obstacles like skills and cost, and the proportion of those planning to use it has plunged.”

By contrast, robotics – in both hardware and software – has moved to the forefront of corporate strategy. A technology called Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which automates business processes through software “bots”, has become readily and cheaply available from numerous service providers, resulting in a robotics boom.

“We were astonished when we sifted through the data,” says Goldstuck. “A year ago, only 6% of South African enterprises were using robotics. Then came the RPA explosion. Now the figure stands at 37%.”

The industry sectors that have adopted robotics most enthusiastically also reveal the contrast in use cases between hardware-and software-based automation. The sector with the highest uptake, Legal services – at a high 67% – is able to reap massive benefits from automating standard, routine and dull processes like searches for legal precedents. On the other hand, the next most active sector in robotics, Mining, is focused on hardware automation of both dangerous and routine processes, like drilling and sorting.

“We’ve predicted for some time that the legal profession would be among the first to use AI and bots to take over and speed up routine tasks,” says Goldstuck. “This poses a  challenge to the profession to allocate new roles to recent graduates that are the lifeblood of the industry. While this transition is under way, fewer positions will be available, and we will see a significant shift in skills requirements for entry-level positions. This, of course, is the fundamental challenge of the fourth industrial revolution.”

The uptake of emerging technologies varies dramatically across technology categories and industry sectors. Virtual and augmented reality is used by a little more than a third of enterprises, but intended usage among the rest falls to below 10%. Blockchain, the technology for distributed ledgers that validate every step in a transaction process, is currently used by fewer than 10% of respondents.

The one stand-out sector, in which South Africa leads the world, is the Internet of Things (IoT). The study revealed near-unanimous usage, with 92% of enterprises having adopted IoT. However, this is largely a factor of the ubiquity of vehicle tracking and fleet management technology, which began as telematics, and has evolved into a sub-category of IoT.

“The combination of high usage and a strong increase in current and planned usage of IoT technology shows corporates are getting returns from existing IoT implementations,” says Goldstuck. “As the technology becomes cheaper to obtain and operate, smaller companies will have the ability to compete in productivity with much larger corporates.”

This is one of the key benefits of such emerging technologies, the study suggests: once the skills requirements are addressed, they become a commodity that any organisation of any size, from start-up to giant corporation, can leverage equally. For now, however, companies are having to make cautious choices. This is revealed in the finding that a mere 3.1% of enterprises use a combination of robotics and AI. Of the rest, only 3.6% plan to do so.

“The report reveals quite dramatically the extent to which corporate South Africa seems to have a clear sense of what it needs and doesn’t need from the emerging technologies,” says Goldstuck. “The fourth industrial revolution will be cherry-picked, based on what will differentiate a business, rather than representing wholesale take-up of technologies for their own sake.”

To download the contents list and to view pricing, click here.

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Superhot launches on Nintendo Switch

Blurring the lines between cautious strategy and unbridled mayhem, Superhot is the first-person shooter (FPS) in which time moves only when players move.

Click below to watch the trailer and to read about the game.

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No regenerating health bars. No conveniently placed ammo drops. It’s just the player, outnumbered and outgunned, grabbing weapons off fallen enemies to shoot, slice, and manoeuvre through a hurricane of slow-motion bullets.

With its stylised graphics, the game finally adds something new to the FPS genre. Superhot’s polished, minimalist visual language helps players focus on what’s most important – the fluid gameplay and the cinematic beauty of the fight.

The game took thirty months to make, meaning thousands of hours were put into development and design. From its humble origins in the 7 Day FPS game jam, through a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, to an array of awards and nominations from industry experts, Superhot is a labour of love by its independent, dedicated team and thousands of backers from all around the globe.

It has the following features:

• Endless Mode – how long can you last against unyielding waves of enemies?
• Challenge Mode – take on Superhot with your bare hands, no restarts, timed runs, and more.
• Extras – delve further into Superhot with mini-games, ASCII art, and [redacted].

The game is available now on the Nintendo Switch eShop for R150.

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New Borderlands 3 game modes announced

At Gamescom 2019 this week, Gearbox Software creative director Paul Sage, in conversation with Geoff Keighley, announced two new Borderlands 3 game modes.

Click below to watch the announcement and to read more about the game.

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Vault Hunters, prepare for Borderlands 3. The game tests a player’s skills to score some top-tier loot in the crucibles of the new Proving Grounds and the returning Circle of Slaughter arenas.

Borderlands 3 is a story-driven, non-stop galactic thrill-ride, filled with colourful characters, epic enemies and boss fights, and billions of guns. In an all-new gameplay trailer released today, Gearbox and 2K show off the game’s unique brand of explosive, irreverent mayhem.

Borderlands 3 launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on 13 September.

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