Wilson Mongwe, who is completing his PhD in artificial intelligence at the University of Johannesburg, hopes his research will further Africa’s position in the fourth industrial revolution.
“Artificial intelligence is the key that will drive innovation in the coming years. We must master it or risk being left behind,” he says.
He is a front office quantitative analyst, which means he builds mathematical models that are used by derivative traders.
Mongwe was surprised to find that there weren’t many black professionals in his field. “The derivative quantitative analyst field is dominated by white men. This made it difficult to find mentors that looked like me.”
He has set out to solve this by “serving as an example to other young black South Africans that it is possible to be successful”, he says. “I also want to mentor young people wanting to enter the field. And assist in transforming the field so that it reflects the demographics of our country.”
Ultimately, he wants to show young people that their “dreams are valid” whatever their circumstances.
“Success does not occur by osmosis, but requires hard work, dedication and consistency,’ he says. “The road that lies ahead is going to be difficult. But the hard work will all be worth it at the end.”