When we think about who is responsible for the greatest human achievements of all time, what crosses your mind? “People who make algorithms work?” Didn’t think so.
Will.i.am, musician, producer and director and advocate for education, alongside Brian David Johnson, writer and futurist recently spoke at the Institution of Engineering and Technology about the release of their new children’s fiction book, ‘Wizards and Robots,’ covering all things AI and of course the STEM skills gap.
During the evening Will.i.am and Johnson brought us rocketing through their vision for the future, from having our own personal AI companions, to not forgetting to create tech “for the people” that continues to enhance our everyday lives.
They also spoke about the female engineer protagonist in their book with Will.i.am commenting that regardless of your gender, looks, age or ethnicity, “if you’re fearless, you will be welcomed” because “the real superheroes are engineers and scientists”. If more of us stopped caring what other people thought maybe there wouldn’t be the gender or diversity gap we’re facing now with STEM. If you want to be an engineer and contribute to solving the problems of our future, Will.i.am suggests bringing a “who cares” attitude to what other people may think of you, because “the world needs you to have that attitude.”
As the evening concluded, I thought about what I had taken away from the evening, was it the fact that my work had finally collided with my 16-year-old dream of meeting one of my favourite musicians?! Or more importantly, a couple of questions that had never even crossed my mind, “How much money is being put into technology and AI, versus how much money we’re putting into our own humans?” Shouldn’t we be investing in our people and future generations so that we have the skills to shape our future?
…Perhaps the next generation of “superheroes” will solve it.