The Future of Work

As a media and communications company with a focus on digital marketing and public relations, here at Socially Acceptable, we are always thinking about how our industry is re-inventing itself in this ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

It is not enough for digital marketing companies to just manage a social account or write a blog or two. The power lies in having a full understanding of the spectrum of technological solutions available to the marketer. This in turn provides a full value solution to a client. Even if a client does not need the full scale of a digital marketing solution or might not suit one, the digital marketing company playing in the space cannot play on half-baked knowledge.




Which is why today’s visit to the BRICS 2018 Future Skills Challenge Exhibitions was so interesting. The jobs / career options / business opportunities / and skills development of the future were on show. Launched by the BRICS Business Council of South Africa in July this year, the 2o18 Future Skills Challenge is an initiative to foster increased co-operation among the BRICS member countries. Lebogang Letsoalo, chairperson of merSETA says that the current workforce needs to be up-skilled for the work of the future.

“We also want to ensure that innovation is informed by Industry 4.0 and that whatever is taught at institutions of higher learning is informed by advanced technology”

The Future Skills Challenge was held alongside the Jobs Summit which attracted a fair bit of attention as it did derision. The Assembly of the Unemployed protested that those who were attending the Summit or those represented at the Summit do not represent the interests of the unemployed. A future blog post will follow on this issue, as a discussion on the scale of up-skill vs job creation vs a collaborative economy.



The major areas of focus:

  • Automation
  • Big Data
  • The Maker Movement of 3D printing, laser cutting
  • Robots
  • Artificial Intelligene (AI)
  • Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Internet of Things
  • Digital Marketing


Talking to the team at the Makerspace exhibition that were part of the challenge, Maker mentor Rob Stirling and Brendan Ardagh from Forefront Inspire talked about their robot that they were building to monitor crops. Over time, the data collected will help identify problem plants, areas of the plantation that need help and changes in the soil that need attention. But the robot can also identify a sick plant and immediately notify a human. Tiisetso Modubu, a Maker mentor from Tshwane University of Technology, worked on the hardware control (sensors and movement) of their farmbot

Then the conversation turned to Vertical farming. And we thought of a latest example in New Jersey in the US.

Bowery in New Jersey looks like a cross between a factory and a lab. Trays of salad greens rise up. Using less water and no pesticides with the right amount of light, plants thrive in a shorter space of time. The majority of the facility is automated and data is collected by sensors.

Software dictates what tasks need to be done and when, via sensors and data analysis. The few human employees follow what the software tells them to do.

Making food affordable is a current future challenge; making more with fewer farmers as the human race grows to 9.8 billion by 2050 where 2/3 will live in cities.

                                                          Ok. Bringing it back home


The major areas of automation, robotics, technological development and data analysis is not simply a growth in jobs; it is an up-skill in critical thinking and creative output. This can transcend into a collaborative economy of freelance artisans trading on a project basis; breaking the norm of the industrialised sector of work.

Is this the only way forward? No.

But what we do know as a media and communications company, focusing on digital marketing and public relations is that we have a short window period to quickly adapt and up-skill, in actively participating in the 4th Industrial Revolution as we sail through this ocean of significant change for humanity.

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