The transformative power of the internet can be seen in every corner of the world. It defines our generation and inspires the next in ways that we are only just beginning to imagine.
According to Arthur D. Little’s recently published report ‘Unlocking GIGAWorld Innovation’, we’re at an historic intersection between the internet we know and the internet of the future. The report explains that gigabit speeds will unlock new and exciting possibilities such as remote-controlled surgery robots, augmented reality shopping and automated living.
Over the past 20 years we’ve witnessed the internet evolve into one of the most powerful tools ever invented. As for the next 20 years and beyond, I believe that the future of the internet, like society, will be in the hands of our children. For it is young people who eagerly embrace opportunity and dare to envisage the impossible; who want to learn, to grow, and to make the world a better place.
Earlier this year, as part of our Future Makers Awards program in partnership with CoderDojo, we challenged junior citizens aged 7-17 to use their growing knowledge of coding to bring about positive changes in their communities. Their submissions were imaginative, innovative and heart-warming.
Take seventeen-year-old Aoife, who designed her ‘Eye Opener’ app to prevent drowsy drivers from falling asleep behind the wheel. The app monitors the driver’s core body temperature and warns them when it drops by half a degree – a key indicator of falling asleep.
Then there’s twelve-year-old Amy, who wanted to save the bees in her community and so set about building a ‘smart’ beehive that monitors the activity and wellbeing of bees with sensors and software.
Andrei, who’s twelve, created a device to notify a teacher when the CO2 levels in a classroom exceeds healthy limits. And Giulio, also twelve, developed an educational game for his friend’s sister who has Down Syndrome.
We are often told that we live in an age when every generation acts more entitled than the last. That’s certainly not my experience with Future Makers. Far from wanting everything on a plate, these inspiring young people combine their boundless imagination with a hunger to learn and a strong desire to do good.
By teaching young people the language of code, we aim to set their imagination free and create positive change through technology. As Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will be to know and understand.”
This blog is published as part of Code Week which takes place October 7-20th, when Liberty Global shines a light on the young people creating amazing digital ideas that make a difference. Do you know a Future Maker in your community? We’d love to hear about them and their amazing invention.