CFO Day opened with an engaging discussion centred around the age-old question of man versus machine.
Against the backdrop of remarkable advancements in generative AI over the past six months, the spotlight has understandably been on this groundbreaking technology. However, it’s important to acknowledge that numerous other transformative technologies are also reshaping industries.
At the heart of CFO Day’s deliberations was the pressing query: how much is too much in this new world?
Exploring the metaverse
The first session was an immersive walkthrough of the metaverse, guided by Dale Deacon, a VR creative technologist and self-proclaimed tech nerd. Dale captivated the audience with a virtual TV studio demonstration, delving into the concept of virtual reality (VR) and its ability to merge our consciousness with a digitally created world.
His enthusiasm for technology is infectious, particularly when it comes to inspiring young enthusiasts to embrace emerging technologies, and encouraging business leaders to follow suit.
In Dale’s view, the notion of man versus machine is a peculiar dichotomy. “Technology has always been a complementary force to the social-human aspect of our lives.” According to him, South Africa boasts a thriving VR community that is actively driving innovation across diverse sectors such as arts, media, agriculture, and medicine.
Dale stressed that while augmented reality (AR) and VR are commonly associated with gaming, they have tremendous potential for business applications as well.
Where to start to get into VR
For business leaders aspiring to leverage these technologies, Dale offered valuable insights. He advised them to start by mastering the basics, familiarising themselves with the relevant jargon, conducting extensive research in their respective fields, carefully choosing the platform upon which they will build their solutions, assembling a competent team, and actively seeking collaboration opportunities with like-minded individuals.
What we know about VR/AR skills
As a co-author of the Africa XR report, Dale drew attention to a noteworthy trend observed in the industry: the majority of professionals in this domain are young and highly skilled. This observation should prompt employers to consider the significance of nurturing and attracting this talent pool to ensure their companies remain competitive in an evolving technological landscape.
The Africa XR report’s revelation about the youthful demographic of the industry serves as a compelling reminder for business leaders. By bridging the gap between business acumen and creative technological expertise, companies can unlock unparalleled growth opportunities and thrive in the dynamic landscape of the future.
“These technologies may sound like science fiction, but they are being created by people right in our backyard,” Dale said, illustrating his point by highlighting groundbreaking initiatives such as Get Well Pals. This award-winning app employs VR to bring joy to children in hospitals, using memorable characters to explain complex medical concepts in an engaging and relatable manner. Additionally, Dale mentioned Simulon, an app aiding film creators in storyboarding, and Emily GPT, a chatbot assistant equipped with impressive safety features.
Dale said AR and VR’s immense potential for businesses across a wide range of sectors is yet to be fully appreciated.
“Unfortunately, many noteworthy projects in this field often go unnoticed, making it imperative for individuals to explore the vast array of applications available, and reach out to experts for guidance.”
CFO Day brought the ongoing debate of man versus machine to the forefront, emphasising the need for a harmonious co-existence between humans and technology.