Teenage minds gen­er­ate big ideas

Auckland City Harbour News - - OUT & ABOUT - MARY FITZGER­ALD

A school hol­i­day work­shop is draw­ing to­gether fresh young minds to con­sider ways to solve some of the world’s prob­lems.

Find­ing a way to im­prove the lives of a bil­lion peo­ple may sound like an over­whelm­ing task to many, but that is what a group of Kiwi teenagers were chal­lenged with, at the in­au­gu­ral Auck­land Find Your Bil­lion work­shop held in the Septem­ber school hol­i­days.

Joanna Li, 16, and Ly­dia Wat- son, 17, were two of 200 stu­dents who took part in the work­shop.

The work­shop held at the Dioce­san School sports cen­tre in Ep­som on Septem­ber 28, was fa­cil­i­tated by ed­u­ca­tion con­sul­tant Ch­eryl Doig and Sin­gu­lar­i­tyU Find Your Bil­lion work­shops project co-lead Chris Clay.

It was aimed at young peo­ple aged be­tween 13 and 19.

The de­vel­op­ment of self­driv­ing hospi­tal clin­ics that can travel to ar­eas of need as and when re­quired was an idea gen­er­ated from the work­shop. An­other idea was the de­vel­op­ment of a sys­tem to col­lect and re­cy­cle space junk in space.

‘‘Stu­dents fo­cussed on how tech­nol­ogy can be ap­plied to solve hu­man­ity’s great­est chal­lenges ... we want to raise both their aware­ness of the global chal­lenges we face and the in­creased range of pos­si­bil­i­ties that new tech­nolo­gies like nan­otech and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence al­low,’’ he says.

Li and Wat­son have al­ready proven their ap­ti­tude for us­ing tech­nol­ogy to solve so­cial is­sues with their de­vel­op­ment of a smart­phone app to help the LGBT com­mu­nity find gen­der neu­tral bath­rooms.

‘‘In the work­shop it was fun dis­cussing the ‘big’ is­sues fac­ing our world that have se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for our fu­tures, but that we do not re­ally ad­dress our­selves. I think it has def­i­nitely changed our per­cep­tion on what is pos­si­ble for us,’’ Li says.

‘‘We en­joyed dis­cussing with other peo­ple our age about our fu­ture, and how we plan to deal with it, as well as meet­ing new peo­ple and hear­ing their per­spec­tives on the fore­seen prob­lems of the fu­ture,’’ Wat­son says.

‘‘We have to take into con­sid­er­a­tion how dif­fer­ent life will be in 10 to 15 years time, when we are in the work­force. This means that now, when we are plan­ning our fu­ture ca­reers, the changes in tech­nol­ogy are things we have to con­sider,’’ Li says.

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