WITH Namibia’s industrialisation path, as outlined in the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), in mind; it is important to remind pursuers of this agenda that we have stepped into an age of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Never before have industries had the power to use information to enhance their products and services, as they do today, and since the rise of big data, analytics has become a powerful tool, which is used by companies to understand what to do, when to do it and how to do it, in order to enhance efficiency, minimise cost, and maximise profitability.
Recent years have seen greater availability of highly sophisticated software packages and algorithms, an increase in processing power, as well as a decrease in processing costs.
As a result, analysts, businesses and industries, on the whole, have become ever-more empowered, given that more data can be processed and stronger models can be built in shorter periods of time.
Within the credit industry, for example, analytics has enabled credit providers to make informed decisions on the creditworthiness of prospective borrowers within split seconds.
Given the evolution of data generation, storage and analysis, coupled with the introduction of cloud computing, the realm of data analysis has expanded and machine learning is now is equipping a variety of industries, where a great amount of data is generated, to make quicker and better decisions. Machine learning is an evolutionary by-product of artificial intelligence and computer science, which has enabled computers to “learn”, without being explicitly programmed to perform certain tasks.
In essence, machine learning automates repetitive tasks, thus allowing employees the leeway to challenge themselves to a larger extent. Of course, it’s not likely that machines will take over the world, as some may fear, but a focus on equipping oneself and growing one’s skillsets may be necessary in the near future, to avoid the risk of unemployment or redundancy in the workplace.
Indeed, some job roles won’t exist in ten years’ time, but there are also jobs now that didn’t exist ten years ago. In fact, technologies such as machine learning have opened up new doors for employment opportunities, and have drastically changed the way business is done.
It must further be said that machine learning is merely a tool – one of many that needs to be understood and used properly.
Nevertheless, the powerful combination of machine learning and human learning, the rapidly changing world of analytics and the resultant opportunities and efficiencies within various industries, is tremendously exciting, and should thus be embraced fully by a Namibia that envisions success on the manufacturing front.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015