Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande revealed his department is busy putting together a fund worth billions to aid companies wanting to invest in new technologies.
Fourth industrial revolution
If the hype is to be believed, the world is currently experiencing its fourth industrial revolution. It has been spurred on by technologies and innovations that can potentially improve people’s lives dramatically, such as with robotics.
However, the financial barrier to investing into these new technologies can be off-putting to businesses, especially small and medium enterprises. Changing the way a company operates also carries a great deal of risk.
This fund, according to Nzimande, will ease the risk of adopting new technological innovations. At the announcement of the fund, the minister revealed the fund would reveive a whopping R1 billion per year for the next five years.
According to Nzimande, there has been a sharp increase in intellectual property rights licence applications over the last 10 years, as well as start-up companies, and his department is keen to use its budget to help those people succeed.
South Africa are slow adopters
The news comes in the wake of a report by World Wide Worx, in partnership with SYSPRO, which showed that South African corporates have been slow in adopting technologies and innovations associated with the fourth industrial revolution.
“The most surprising finding was the lack of enthusiasm for artificial intelligence, despite the marketing hype that suggests every large business is embracing it,” said 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.”