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China’s NanjingTech honours UJ’s Prof Marwala

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which utilises Artificial Intelligence as a ‘backbone’ technology, is threatening to take over jobs in South Africa and the rest of the world, potentially increasing unemployment. However, the jobs that remain will be those that require human interaction, said the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Prof Tshilidzi Marwala at Nanjing Tech University (NanjingTech), China, on 21 December 2016.

At the event, NanjingTech conferred a visiting professorship on Prof Marwala, who had been invited by the University’s President and Academic Huang Wei.

Prof Marwala is an internationally acclaimed Electrical Engineering researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence. He serves as the UJ Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation.

(For Prof Marwala’s Google Scholar profile click here)

“As educators we should educate the public to develop and enhance skills associated with human interaction such as critical thinking, people management, emotional intelligence, judgement, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility,” added Prof Marwala.

NanjingTech is a comprehensive, research-oriented and globalised university with engineering as its focus, more than 100 years old. It has established strategic cooperation with many renowned universities of world’s top 50. In particular, it developed deep collaboration relationship with the Imperial College London.

Prof Gong Jianming (Vice-President of NanjingTech), Ms Jing Su (Minister of Overseas Affairs, NanjingTech), Prof Huang Suoming (Secretary of Communist Party of China, School of Electrical Engineering and Control Science, NanjingTech), and Prof Mei Xue (Vice Dean, School of Electrical Engineering and Control Science, NanjingTech) attended the ceremony.

Prof Zhao Yonggang (Deputy Minister of Human Resource, NanjingTech) hosted it with the staff and student representatives from the School of Electrical Engineering and Control Science, NanjingTech.

Nanjing Tech’s Vice-President, Prof Gong Jianming delivered the opening speech at the ceremony. He pointed out that as a specialist in Artificial Intelligence and Mechanical Engineering, Prof Marwala will break new ground in the cooperation between NanjingTech and UJ. He briefly introduced NanjingTech’s recent developments in establishing national-level collaborative innovation centres, talent recruitment, and world-wide communication with outstanding scholars.

Ms Jing Su provided an overview of Prof Marwala’s background, mentioning his research interests in artificial intelligence, computer science, economics, social and medical science; as well as his main academic achievements which include nine monographs, over 300 high level publications, three patents, and more than 40 prizes.

During the ceremony, Vice-President Gong Jianming conferred the visiting professorship on Prof Marwala and presented him with a certificate.

Nanjing Tech’s student representatives gave Prof Marwala a bouquet of flowers.

In his closing remarks, Prof Marwala thanked NanjingTech for the honour of the conferral. He pointed out the academic insights of NanjingTech’s Executive Leadership Group lead by President and Academic Huang Wei. He said that the energetic and diligent students made a deep impression on him and that he hopes to strengthen the research collaboration, staff and student exchange, as well as various forms of cultural communication between NanjingTech and UJ in the near future.

After the ceremony, Prof Marwala presented a public lecture, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Artificial Intelligence and Society”, for relevant NanjingTech staff and students. He started by introducing the concept of Artificial Intelligence. Then he introduced Neural Networks, Deep Learning, and several other evolution-inspired optimisation disciplines, explaining their underlying mechanisms and broad applications. The presentation, which highlighted a number of novel approaches, provoked a lively discussion among the attendees.

On request of the staff and student representatives, Prof Marwala then visited the NanjingTech School of Electrical Engineering and Control Science and initiated further in-depth discussion.

The original NanjingTech article in Mandarin here.

 

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