The first language that Azima Dhanjee learned was sign language. A 21 year old student at the Institute of Business Administration in Pakistan, her parents’ hearing impairments resulted in her often taking on the role of “interpreter” in the family and later inspired her to co-found ConnectHear, a social enterprise that uses technology to provide sign language interpretation services. Through their video conferencing platform, Azima and her team are able to make interpretation services more accessible and affordable, allowing them to reach clients in the most remote regions of Pakistan.
“I believe that communication, accessibility and inclusion are for everyone, including the deaf and mute,” says Azima.
The emergence of new technologies, she believes, provides an opportunity for people of all ages to make an impact. When asked what advice she would give to current students, she encourages youth to use the Internet to learn about newly emerging fields and build a diverse skill set.
“Technology is opening up opportunities for people of all ages to come up with new ideas and solve the problems around them.”
“Artificial intelligence can be seen as an opportunity rather than as a threat,” says 19 year old Sana Lakdawala.
Enrolled as a student at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, Sana currently works as a software engineering intern at Lockheed Martin, an aerospace and advanced technologies company, where she focuses on making flight testing more efficient for the organisation’s projects. Through her studies in statistics and machine learning, she hopes to be a part of “making artificial intelligence more prominent in everyday life”.
Sana sees the movement towards automation as an opportunity for students to take on new, and more meaningful careers. From enabling doctors to more easily diagnose cancer, to helping engineers plan with greater accuracy, she describes artificial intelligence as being applicable to all fields. Rather than attempt to avoid it, she encourages students to take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about new technological developments.
“If you feel that you will be crowded out by automation, be the person who is automating such tasks”.
Zain Bhanji — a 21 year old student at McGill University in Canada — is spending his summer working as a Hockey Video Analyst at SportLogiq, a sports analytics company which uses artificial intelligence to track the movements of professional athletes. These insights are then used by sports teams to make better in-game decisions. “I love sports, and I have always dreamt of working within the sports world,” says Zain.
Through pairing his personal passion for ice hockey with recent technological advances, he says he has been able to find the perfect fit: “For me, work is fun because I get to do what I love: watch professional hockey every day!”
From helping the National Hockey League teams win more games, to increasing accessibility of education, Zain sees boundless potential for automation to improve lives both on and off the ice: “At the current rate society is producing new technology, I believe that the world will be more equipped than ever to improve the quality of life of many individuals across the world.”
From optimising flight testing, to creating innovative social enterprises, to predicting the next sports champions, technology has unlocked countless opportunities for students looking to get ahead in today’s world of rapid change.