Ramaphosa warned that should South Africans not adapt to the new technologies, they faced the grim prospect of being rendered irrelevant and the country facing stagnation.
"As a young nation, only 25 years into our democracy, we are faced with a stark choice. It is a choice between being overtaken by technological change or harnessing it to serve our developmental aspirations. It is a choice between entrenching inequality or creating shared prosperity through innovation.
"Unless we adapt, unless we understand the nature of the profound change that is reshaping our world, and unless we readily embrace the opportunities it presents, the promise of our nation's birth will forever remain unfulfilled," President Ramaphosa said, citing "the devastating effects of global warming on our climate, with extreme weather conditions damaging livelihoods, communities and economies".
"Today, we choose to be a nation that is reaching into the future. In doing so, we are building on a platform of extraordinary scientific achievement," he added.
The President outlined how his administration was responding to the new technological advances, starting at the primary and secondary education levels. To expand participation in the technical streams, he said, several ordinary public schools will be transformed into technical high schools.
"In line with our Framework for Skills for a Changing World, we are expanding the training of both educators and learners to respond to emerging technologies including the internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence. Several new technology subjects and specialisations will be introduced, including technical mathematics and technical sciences, maritime sciences, aviation studies, mining sciences, and aquaponics," President Ramaphosa said.