Sharing 4IR insights and knowledge with Stanford MBA students

UJ has been recognised among the global leaders in higher education, taking the lead in Africa particularly in 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) thinking, reimagining the future on Big Data analytics, systems intelligence and cognitive computing, digital revolution and machine learning and Industrial application of intelligent systems.

About 30 cohorts of MBA students from Stanford Graduate School of Business, visited the College of Business and Economics (CBE) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Friday, 06 September 2019, in Auckland Park Kingsway Campus to broaden their understanding in using AI to analyse large amount of data in today’s unprecedented big data environment.

mba students uj

UJ, Stanford strengthen collaboration to foster faster development for Africa using big data analytics.

The group was involved in a 2-week-long journey globetrotting on an international study trip across South Africa in Johannesburg and Cape Town. They networked with companies, international organisations and other universities and business schools during their 10-day itineraries.

Their South African study experience included finding out more about understanding Asymmetric Information, using big data to reduce uncertainty in decision making and how artificial intelligence (AI) affects our standard of living in Africa.

Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, UJ’s Vice-Chancellor & Principal said: “Markets that use AI and advanced data analytics are markets of the fourth industrial revolution. In South Africa we need to find our own data that we can sell.”

“Data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) have become competitive advantages. The new benefits that big data analytics brings to the table, however, are speed and efficiency. We need to solve our domestic problems, addressing disease control, using artificial intelligence, looking at the profile of the continent. It worries me that people don’t travel enough into Africa,” he said. “Already we have introduced African insights to our students when it comes to big data and climate change,” said Marwala, who has won international recognition for his research into artificial intelligence (AI), and has developed tools to change the way diseases are treated.

Also speaking during the session, Prof Daneel van Lill, Executive Dean of the College of Business and Economics (CBE), said that UJ has established itself as an institution of global excellence and world-class stature, while providing accessible higher education, as well as a vast set of continental and international connections, to ensure that globally, the UJ College of Business and Economics is top of mind and top of class.

“There is still much work to be done to realise the ambitions of our country and our continent. We are confident that the CBE, with the collaboration of all role-players across the private and public sectors, as well as civil society, will help to turn business into a powerful engine that drives our economy forward.”

Speakers at the workshop included: Mr Mike Teke, UJ’s Chair of Council who encouraged African countries to compete globally by participating in global trade, whilst Prof Kevin Bwalya, Vice-Dean: College of Business and Economics focused on The School of Consumer Intelligence and Information Systems as the forefront of the institution that offers programs addressing business concerns through use of data and information analytics, facilitated by employment of information technology.

Student Johanna Eriksson said: “During our trip in parts of South Africa, I’ve noticed that big data may very well be able to play a vital role in environmental sustainability. Looking at this technology and information from the business side, it will be beneficial for helping the world assess environmental risks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental factors.”

“Student Korn Lapprathana said: “I’ve learned a lot from talking to SA politicians and listening to Prof Marwala as an expert in the AI field today. Indeed successful businesses need access to data to help them understand industry trends, consumer needs, and untapped audiences. So Big data can reveal important trends, but analysing large amounts of information requires skills that few people have. I believe having these skills will help to assist in altering gender, race, income and health policies to safeguard the civil society.”

The workshop concluded on the note that universities should produce a cadre of people who understand AI and big data and how these technologies interface with the economy. Secondly, leadership courses that re-skill existing workforces in industry, government and society should be developed so that they can better manage the fourth industrial revolution markets as well as craft the associated legislations and strategies.


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