How will we do business and politics in 2035? A NGI workshop with teenagers
On December 5, the NGI booth at ICT2018 hosted three unusual presentations delivered by 14-year-old students from two high schools in Vienna. Although fictional, the students’ presentations — two startup pitches and the launching speech of a “tech for good” party — need not have envied any of the professional panels and projects present at the 5000-attendee fair in Vienna.
The exposés were held in front of enthusiastic EC officers, NGI community members, school teachers and passers-by, and were the result of a workshop organised by the NGI Move project in collaboration with the Austrian Imagine conference. Among the presentations, a strong link: including diverse sets of population in imagining an inclusive technology future.
Mentored by Manfred Aigner, Marta Arniani, Tom Collins and Mirko Presser, the students were given carte blanche to elaborate on 3 plausible leads for 2035: a startup developing holographic technology; a second startup working on the hypothesis that we will be able to control pets’ brains; and a political party that promotes tech for good.
The first group came up with “Iris”, an AI-driven hologram system that relies on microchips implanted in people’s brain proposing all kinds of solutions: from customised and emphatic teachers and personal learning systems for young people, to job-hunting and health support for adults.
“Sense your animal” was the slogan of Sensimal, the second startup. Sensimal focused on establishing an empathic and functional connection with animals at home, in the wild and in farming. Finally, members from a political party standing for an “intelligent society” putting humans first, questioned the pervasive role of technology and proposed a more balanced relationship with robots, chips and any other possible device that will make us doubt in the future if “we have our own opinions or not”.
The workshop proved that young Euopean students have quite a clear idea of how technology works, its jargon and the business around it. The question is whether they will ponder with the same attention the ethical aspects, when it will be their time to be tech entrepreneurs and decision-makers. Regardless, working on the critical thinking of young generations is definitely a good mission for the NGI community.