The press conference commenced with the delegate from my assigned committee, the African Commission on Science and Technology. I asked my delegate representing the Republic of Senegal a few questions of my own, to which he responded decorously. He elaborated on Senegal’s perspective on Technological Innovation in Africa to which he stated:“Though it is very beneficial to the African Continent, it has its drawbacks too”. He further elaborated that, one of such issues was the issue of job insecurity. The improvements in technology consequently lead to an influx of individuals into the labour market. As technology optimises activities which can be done by humans, it makes the work of the labour force redundant in the society. Factors like the introduction of Bitcoin and Artificial Intelligence (AI) that would cause unemployment in various sectors of the economy; primary, secondary and tertiary.
In my opinion, technology was designed to make the work of humans less arduous. A wide range of tasks that seem burdensome to humans can now be done by machines. Subsequently, this cuts costs and increases production efficiency in the long-run, two goals firms and industries strive to attain. At this climax, unemployment becomes inevitable in the society. Throughout history, a lot of jobs have been phased out due to emerging technologies. This brings into question whether the degrees being attained by university students today will be useful after graduation. With the fast advancements in technology, will it be a waste of time for some graduates?
The questions that came about during the press conference only brought about more questions for myself and the audience that attended the session. With a maximum time of six minutes, it was quite difficult to effectively ask all these questions and holistically cover the perspective of technological innovation in Africa from the representative of Senegal. However, from the beginning to the end of the press conference, the diplomat gave me informative answers that left me even more curious than before. Even more, his confidence on his country’s stance on the topic complemented his words and statistics like a cherry on top of a cake. I look forward to reading the passed resolution on Sunday. Until then, keep learning and keep debating!
Written by Uduak-Abasi Bassey, South African Broadcasting Corporation