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Will a robot take your job?

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Many of today’s jobs are losing relevance due to advances in technology. This makes it challenging for anyone starting a new career, writes ANGELA SCHAERER – Teacher Engagement Lead for Microsoft South Africa.

With many of today’s jobs beginning to lose relevance in a world increasingly dominated by new technologies, the challenge facing anyone at the beginning of their career is studying something that will match the demand for jobs of the future, while developing the skills necessary to succeed in the modern workplace.

Sixty-five percent of current students will end up in jobs that have not even been invented yet. This also means that people already employed in jobs need to start thinking about how they are going to make a living in the next 10 to 20 years. Technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence, which are able to perform high-level, cognitively complicated tasks, may render certain jobs obsolete. Replacing human workers with technology is simply more productive and efficient.

However, it’s not all bad news, and it’s important to remember that the fourth industrial revolution is not going to be possible without the human minds that set it in motion in the first place. Analysts predict that there will be a surge in job opportunities for software developers, data analysts and digital architects, as well as jobs that require creativity, ingenuity and innovative thinking.

In a story for Slate Magazine, our global CEO Satya Nadella said: “It’s not going to be about human vs. machine. We humans have creativity, empathy, emotion, physicality, and insight that can be mixed with powerful A.I. computation—the ability to reason over large amounts of data and do pattern recognition more quickly—to help move society forward.”

Therefore, jobs that are either for highly creative professions that can’t be automated, or professions in computer, science and mathematical related fields as well as architecture and engineering, which combine art and science, are the most likely to grow.

Develop the right skills for the job

There are five essential skills you should develop to be successful in the modern workplace known as the five Cs. They are communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and computational thinking. You need to focus on problem solving and a certain way of thinking and operating, rather than only developing technical skills such as mastering a specific coding language or software. With technology advancing so quickly, it’s vital that young people learn to be agile and embrace change. These skills are essential for work in the 21st century and need to be instilled in young people at school level.

“Humans need not apply”

The best piece of advice for future job-seekers is to stay away from jobs that are in danger of becoming obsolete. Nadella asserts that there are certain “musts” humans need to remain relevant—particularly when it comes to thinking clearly about the skills future generations must prioritize. In order to make it in the future world of work students will need:

Empathy – Empathy is so difficult to replicate in machines. It will be valuable in the human–A.I. world. Perceiving others’ thoughts and feelings, collaborating and building relationships will be critical.

Education – We will need increased investment in education to attain higher level thinking and develop the knowledge and skills needed to implement new technologies on a large scale.

Creativity – Creativity is one of the most coveted human skills. Machines will continue to enrich and augment our creativity.

Judgment and accountability – We may be willing to accept a computer-generated diagnosis or legal decision, but we will still expect a human to be ultimately accountable for the outcomes.

Of course nobody can predict the future, the best approach would be to constantly stay abreast of new developments by upskilling yourself to remain relevant, being flexible and adaptable to change, and staying away from jobs and industries that are in danger of becoming null and void as a result of technology.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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