Teenage minds generate big ideas
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.