Technological Progress

African countries should rethink how they use e-government platforms

Different approaches to e-governance could bear fruit for African countries. jurgenfr/Shutterstock

More and more governments around the world are turning to electronic methods to deliver services and communicate with citizens via the internet.

Many South African jobs could soon be automated, and the country isn’t prepared

Business owners may feel the benefits of automation outweigh the risks. Victor Moussa/Shutterstock

Businesses around the world are cottoning on to the value of transferring labour from human workers to machines. Automation can increase efficiency and decrease labour costs. It helps employers to avoid complex challenges like wage increase demands, labour protests and strikes. Consumers also benefit from automation when products and services become cheaper because of reduced input costs.

Data deficit means we’re in the dark about the digital divide

Cellphones are everywhere in Africa - but that doesn’t mean the digital divide is closing. Legnan Koula/EPA

Digital concerns underpin many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Gender equality, good health, quality education, industry innovation, smart and sustainable cities: these all require strong information and communications technology systems to become a reality.

How the discovery of a protein’s secret function could boost solar tech

Understanding how certain proteins deal with light absorption can inspire modern solar technology.

Proteins are “large”, complex molecules that perform most of the complicated and vital tasks in living organisms. So when scientists study proteins, they can produce blueprints for a new generation of bio-inspired technologies.

Marrying technology and home language boosts maths and science learning

Technology has a lot to teach kids, especially if it’s available in more than one language. Rich T Photo/Shutterstock

Technology, like mobile apps and online learning platforms, is becoming an increasingly important teaching tool all over the world. That’s also true in emerging markets; accessible technologies can essentially be used to take information and digital resources into remote, rural and under-resourced schools.

Why AI can’t solve everything

Why AI cant solve everything

While it is undeniable that AI has opened up a wealth of promising opportunities, it has also led to the emergence of a mindset that can be best described as “AI solutionism”. This is the philosophy that, given enough data, machine learning algorithms can solve all of humanity’s problems.

Fourth industrial revolution: sorting out the real from the unreal

Our predictive skills are about as reliable as a crystal ball. Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

The phrase “fourth industrial revolution” has become ubiquitous. It’s meant to denote a huge shift in the socioeconomic fabric of society, driven by the availability of increasingly intelligent machines. These will be able to do things we can’t do as well as take care of things we can do. Jobs will be lost. And new jobs will be created.

How we recreated a lost African city with laser technology

Laser tech

LiDAR, was used to “redraw” the remains of the city, along the lower western slopes of the Suikerbosrand hills near Johannesburg

There are lost cities all over the world. Some, like the remains of Mayan cities hidden beneath a thick canopy of rainforest in Mesoamerica, are found with the help of laser lights.

Now the same technology which located those Mayan cities has been used to rediscover a southern African city that was occupied from the 15th century until about 200 years ago. This technology, called LiDAR, was used to “redraw” the remains of the city, along the lower western slopes of the Suikerbosrand hills near Johannesburg.

It’s time for governments to help their citizens deal with cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is everyone’s problem, all over the world. NicoElNino/Shutterstock

Cyber criminals are extremely active across the globe – and, unfortunately, also very successful. In Africa, too, businesses are losing billions to cybercrime.

How Africa could leapfrog fossil fuels to clean energy alternatives

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Across Africa the potential is ripe for a clean energy revolution that upsets and leapfrogs the old fossil-fuel order. Reuters

Georges Alexandre Lenferna, University of Washington

Revolutions are, as a rule, rare and momentous processes. But across the African continent the potential is ripe for a clean energy revolution that upsets and leapfrogs the old fossil-fuel order.