ON 30 August 2018, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg, delivered a lecture on ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Society’ at the NTU Institute of Science and Technology for Humanity (NTSH) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. The lecture formed part of the NISTH’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by making systems as well as machines intelligent and connected. The underlying technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution include artificial intelligence (AI) as well as blockchain. Artificial intelligence is a paradigm where physical and social phenomena are programmed to solve complex problems. AI enables machines to learn, adapt, evolve and optimise, and has had a profound impact in diverse fields such as engineering, medical sciences and social sciences. In this lecture, Prof Marwala explored applications of the fourth industrial revolution technologies to engineering, social sciences and medical problems. The implications of these on society as well as the underlying costs were also explored.
About Prof Marwala
Tshilidzi Marwala is Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg. Previously, he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the same university. He progressively held the positions of Associate Professor, Full Professor, the Carl and Emily Fuchs Chair of Systems and Control Engineering, as well as the SARChI Chair of Systems Engineering at the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. Before then, he was Executive Assistant to the Technical Director at South African Breweries, and a post-doctoral research associate at the Imperial College (then University of London).
Prof Marwala holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (magna cum laude) from Case Western Reserve University (USA) in 1995, a Master of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pretoria in 1997, and a PhD specialising in Artificial Intelligence and Engineering from the University of Cambridge in 2000.
He is a registered professional engineer, a Fellow of TWAS (The World Academy of Sciences), the Academy of Science of South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences and the South African Academy of Engineering. He is also a distinguished member of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery).
His research interests are multi-disciplinary and include the theory and application of artificial intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, social science and medicine. He has supervised 47 Masters and 28 Doctoral students to completion. He has published 14 books on artificial intelligence, one of which has been translated into Chinese, more than 300 papers in journals, proceedings, book chapters and magazines, and holds four patents. He is an associate editor of the International Journal of Systems Science. His writings and opinions have appeared in the magazines New Scientist, The Economist and Time Magazine.