We’re living through a time of amazing technological change. So amazing, in fact, that it’s been called a revolution – the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR, to be exact. It’s a revolution that is already changing everything from the way we work, the way we create and consume entertainment, to our concepts of privacy, medical practice, functional technologies for the disabled, grocery buying and perhaps, most importantly, the ways we teach and learn.

4IR is taking us into a new future, unimagined until just a few short years ago. And if you want to have a say in what that future is going to look like, and to ensure that your voice and your views are based in confidence and knowledge, then the place to start is with the imagination. That’s why, at UJ, as a 4IR thought-leader in Africa, we say that an education with us is the best way to get all the confidence and knowledge you need. And that’s because at UJ we haven’t just looked at the future, we think about it again and again, because we believe that the future belongs to those who reimagine it.

T: The Fourth Industrial RevolutionH: Heralds a New WorldA: Advance Your AbilityT: To Make it the Way you Want It

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

“…a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to another.”

Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum

4IR Includes

More and more, machines will be performing tasks that people have routinely done, and already we are seeing many applications of this kind of artificial intelligence in our daily lives, from customer-service to autonomous cars.

AI draws on techniques, skills and knowledge from many fields, including, among many others:

  • Computer science
  • Information engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Marketing
Data and information flow continuously from what we when we say and do when we use the internet, or our cell phones and other devices, as well as from information gathered from loyalty clubs, billing lists and many other sources.

And when it’s captured and analysed, it can affect and influence our relationship with various aspects of our lives, including, among many other things:

  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Media
Robotics is the discipline that develops machines that can do the work of people by replicating what we do.

It’s found where computer science and engineering meet, and is a science that involves design and construction to combine:

  • Information
  • Computer engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electronic engineering
IoT embraces the communication of machines, devices and systems with each other, without human intervention.

Many types of technology, such as sensors, and wireless and control systems are employed to enable the effective operation of IoT. While there are significant questions raised concerning safety, privacy and security, IoT is increasingly making itself felt in diverse fields, including, among many others:

  • Smart homes
  • Building automation
  • Disability assistance
  • Remote diagnosis and treatment
  • All aspects of transport
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Energy management and supply
  • Military systems
So, when you think of your future, you will need to ask these questions:
  • Where do my long-term interests really lie?

  • Why will my career be relevant as technology develops?

  • What kind of environment will I be working in?

  • How can I help shape the world in which I would like to be working and living?


Heralds a New World

There are many jobs and activities which we take for granted today, that may cease to exist as 4IR takes hold.

Some jobs, that may well disappear are found in common and diverse spheres such as:

  • Assembly lines and manufacturing
  • Call centres
  • Education and training,
  • Mobility and public transport

Employment opportunities that we take for granted today, may not necessarily be part of our future world of work. Fields that will need skills include, among many others:

  • 3D printing and manufacturing
  • Financial services
  • Healthcare
  • Information and telecommunications
  • Media and entertainment
  • Mobility and transport
So, when you think of your future, you will need to ask these questions:
  • Where will the new jobs be?

  • Why may current ones no longer be relevant?

  • What kind of industries will disappear?

  • How do I choose to embrace the changing world?


Advance Your Ability

This means:

At UJ, we’ve been aware of the potential of 4IR change for a long time, and is a leader in the field in Africa.

UJ has strongly established itself, and is:

  • An academic leader in Africa
  • Proud of our global reputation
  • Committed to harnessing 4IR tools and developments
  • Preparing our students for a new reality
  • Providing them with a voice in shaping it
As an academic and research leader in Africa, we not only keep abreast of latest developments, but with strong and independent incubators and institutes, we initiate our own.

We invest significantly in our teaching and learning infrastructure, which includes:

  • The Centre for Academic Technologies (CAT)
  • uLink
  • Blackboard
  • Turnitin
  • Online Teaching Toolkit
  • Instructional videos and podcasts
  • Social media platforms, groups, wikis and blogs
Your career, whether its academic, or in the arts, sciences, business or services, will certainly be dependent on new and yet-to-be-developed technologies, platforms and capacities. Interdisciplinary collaboration will be required for both their invention and their use.

At UJ, with our leading role in research and academia, and our embracing of 4IR, we are perfectly placed to give you a world-class education in the exciting world of the 4IR disciplines relevant to your interests and studies. And we do this across all seven of our faculties and our Business and Economics College, including courses in the broad disciplines of:

  • Computer and information sciences and mathematics
  • Hard and social sciences
  • Art, design and architecture
  • Ethics and law
  • Economics and finance
  • Health
Our approach to 4IR begins with providing familiarising courses and activities from the moment you start your studies.

We’ll be introducing and accustoming you to new ways of thinking about the world of work you’ll be entering, and the goods and services you’ll be using, including:

  • Creative adoption of novel ideas
  • Critical and analytic processes
  • AI adaptation and adoption
  • Planning and structural frameworks
  • Collaboration, teamwork and inter-disciplinary approaches
So, when you think of your future, you will need to ask these questions:
  • Where will 4IR advances provide the best tools for my studies?

  • Why are technological skills so important?

  • What kind of thinking do I need to learn?

  • How will 4IR improve my career prospects and opportunities?


To Make it the Way you Want It

Looking only at the promise of 4IR, without studying and understanding its potential pitfalls, would be both dangerous and foolish. That’s why at UJ, you will have the opportunity to learn and examine the promises of this new future means on both an individual and a societal level.

And that’s why, with the skills you acquire at UJ, you will be able to maximise your opportunity to contribute creatively and productively to a future that will look the way you would like it to.

This means critically looking at what you know in the light of what is needed to improve your life.

It involves not just thinking your prospects, but accommodating them to the needs of others, and it embraces:

  • Codification
  • Cyber-physical systems
  • Personalisation
  • Digital transformation
This means examining productivity, forward-thinking, innovation and embracing the new.

Whoever you work with, and wherever you may choose to work, you will be encountering new approaches and issues such as:

  • Knowledge management strategies
  • Sustainability
  • Product and service integration
  • Data management and analysis
The world from which we are moving into the 4IR era, is far from equitable, fair or just. With exciting new fields opening up, and almost limitless potential to ease and improve lives, 4IR could help radically change the way we think about ourselves in relation to each other and society.

At UJ, you will find many expressions of our desire to inculcate in our students the need to:

  • Critically assess the ethics of inventions and their application
  • Understand the benefits, the drawbacks and the threats that 4IR potentially poses
  • Face contradictions and voice your reservations
  • Add your voice to demand transparency and accountability in public life
At UJ we have a proud record of standing as strongly behind our commitment to promoting well-being, fairness and justice, as much as we do in our efforts to creatively contribute to the development and use of new technology for the benefit of all in our country, our continent, and the world.

When you study with us, and with your newfound skills, analytic and productive thinking, you too will find yourself better equipped, not only to face the world of work that you choose, but to help improve it, so that not only you yourself, but the world you will be helping to reimagine, will grow from strength to strength.

So, when you think of your future, you will need to ask these questions:
  • Where can I best acquire the skills and thinking I need?

  • Why will the balanced application of my knowledge so important?

  • What can I do to help shape the future?

  • How can I contribute to society with what I know?


So, if you ask yourself the 4IR questions, you might just come with the 4IR answer.


UJ Imagine That – Minenhle Dlamini – Third Year Public Relations Student 26 June 2021

Ligwalagwala FM – 26 June

UJ Imagine That – Dr Karabo Sitto-Lecturer, Strategic Communication 24 June 2021

Jozi FM – 25 June 2021

UJ Imagine That – Minenhle Dlamini – Third Year Public Relations Student (H – Heralds a New World)

Ligwalagwala FM – 22 May 2021

UJ Imagine That – Prof Mandla Radebe – Associate Professor, Strategic Communication 03 May 2021

Ukhozi FM – 3 May

UJ 4IR Courses

Imagine THAT

Artificial Intelligence Perspectives for Professionals in Business


Blockchain Technology for Professionals in Business


4IR for Professionals In Business

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