UJ Institute for the Future of Knowledge

Research Groups

The IFK focuses on seven themes, each championed by a research group: Blockchain and the Cryptoverse (BC), Data Science across Disciplines (DSAD), Decentralised Artificial Intelligence and Control Systems (DAICS), the Future of Diplomacy (FoD), the Future of Health (FoH), Green Futures (GF) and Work of the Future (WoF).

Work of the Future

Professor Arthur Mutambara

With the advent of the AI-driven Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the ‘Future of Work’ has been a popular research and public discourse area. The inherent assumption is that jobs are in trouble from machines and technology. The ‘Work of the Future’ approach has nuanced differences from the traditional ‘Future of Work’ narratives. In fact, it challenges the latter. The new disposition is that ‘technology is neither the problem nor the solution.’ High industrial productivity and strong labour markets can coexist. In the 4IR, more and better jobs can be built. To make this happen, what robust systems and institutions that can leverage technological advancement and innovation should be put in place? How can workers be supported through long cycles of technological disruption? These questions constitute part of the mandate of the Research Group.

Furthermore, what are the institutional innovations that complement technological change? What are the skills and re-skilling programs that emphasise work-based and hybrid training and learning? How do we empower workers to become and remain productive in an endlessly disruptive workplace? How can we ensure that the 4IR means more jobs and not less?

Other research areas under this Group include the employability of graduates, Higher Education and 4IR, and acquisition of digital skills, capabilities and competencies. The Metaverse and its new jobs are also investigated.

The Work of the Future Research Group contributes to the realisation of SDG 8: “Decent work and economic growth”.

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