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Conference Themes

Ethics, Intellectual Property (IP) and Technology

Ethics is a major issue of contention within 4IR, particularly in relation to data security, platform management and cyber bullying. Security is an increasing issue that will only expand further as 4IR unfolds. At a more philosophical level, new technologies are beginning to raise questions that are rooted in our histories and societal ills. The training of machine learning based on profit orientation has already resulted in ‘unethical’ machines that have resorted to political and religious extremism in order to increase consumption on platforms. Face recognition technologies and even auto-assistants rely on flawed data that are often racist and sexist, resulting in algorithms that perpetuate the problem. The current trend of relatively low-cost development of innovative technologies with enthusiastic users and markets bodes well as a strong basis for an Intellectual Property (IP) orientation in the continent’s strategy towards 4IR.

Creative Industries, Innovation and Development

Many creatives and scholars believe that the creative and cultural sectors are well placed to be enablers of 4IR. These sectors hold the potential to ease the adoption of new technologies and provide practical ways in which these technologies could be applied and understood. In many respects, creative industries have pioneered the use of new technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D printing. The arts, unlike manufacturing and transportation, has a more nuanced relationship to 4IR. To some extent, 4IR is taking up some roles previously held by creatives. In another sense, creativity and the arts are arguably central fields for the development of 4IR and the skills and capacities to harness it.

To facilitate a robust endeavor, UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), will present a hybrid event and invites submission of abstracts for academic papers as well as proposals of practical industry case studies for presentation at the 2022 conference.

Considering the relationship between Creativity and 4IR as being in the process of development, UJ Arts & Culture in partnership with Andani.Africa embarked on a forum in March 2021 to establish a benchmark for South Africa, and Africa, as a point of reference. The forum’s findings document is available here.