Oracle launches Pepper; Setswana communicating robot

SHARE   |   Monday, 01 April 2019   |   By Bakang Tiro
Pepper the Robot Pepper the Robot

In quest to leverage Botswana in the most talked looming 4th industrial revolution more likely to be spearheaded by innovation and emerging technologies, Oracle has launched Robot that is able to interact with humans taking instructions in Setswana.

Speaking during the Oracle Technology Day on Thursday, Oracle Territory Manager in Botswana Roshan Gokhool said this is a milestone for Botswana regarding the 4th Industrial Revolution.

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He said Pepper – the robot which communicates with human beings and the first ever in Africa – came as a move to integrate Botswana into the innovation space through the technologies of Oracle such as the Internet of Things (IOT), cloud and blockchain.

“The rest of the world is gaining momentum towards innovation which plays key role in different sectors of the economy with the ability of diversifying the economy paving way for the 4th industrial revolution. Botswana has the potential to leverage into innovation and emerging technologies for turning into technology hub,” he added.

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He noted that Oracle find it befitting to develop technologies that will enable Botswana to take part in digitalisation route and be at the forefront of transformation.

4th Industrial Revolution

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Experts have observed that like the revolutions that preceded it, the 4th Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.

However, for the country to realise the revolution there is a serious need to tap into robust innovation and technological advancement for Botswana to fully be in the midst, experts have said.

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Director of Marketing and ICT at Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) Tshepo Tsheko says massive investment into innovation and technology sector will play a crucial role in diversifying the economy of the country, hence positioning itself well for the looming 4th revolution.

He noted that the economy should be driven by the new emerging technologies which have the potential to accelerate Botswana to a fully capacitated knowledge-based economy.

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He applauded Oracle for developing an innovative robot, adding that this will go far in stimulating more interest of tapping into innovation; noting that BIH is keen on promoting robust innovation.

Chances are that in the future, technological innovation will also lead to a supply-side miracle, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. Transportation and communication costs will also drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets and drive economic growth.

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Threats and opportunities

Along with new technologies come opportunities and threats to the society’s way of doing things.

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ICT experts have pointed out ICT could yield greater benefits in the economy as it creates new ways of serving existing needs and significantly leading to a robust growth.

“These technology platforms, rendered easy to use by the smartphone, convene people, assets, and data—thus creating entirely new ways of consuming goods and services in the process. In addition, they lower the barriers for businesses and individuals to create wealth, changing the personal and professional environments of workers,” said one expert.  

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However, the burning issue that the ICT experts bemoan is the future of the IT professionals in the midst of strong technology revolution, particularly in its potential to disrupt labour markets with the IT workforce jobs remaining in jeopardy.

BOCRA, BIH role

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Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) and Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) have been singled out as the key game changers for Botswana in the midst of innovative interventions.

ICT Director at BOCRA, Seepelo Malefho, said BOCRA has already formulated initiatives to foster innovation such as the National Broadband Strategy that enhances connectivity into the digital or internet space.

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BIH’s Tsheko said BIH also catalyzes digitalization, citing the Science and Technology Park which hosts some of the world’s leading technology-driven based companies.

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