Any Nation that, wishes to advance, technologically and play big, in the games of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, must invest significantly in education and make it possible for more students, to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects.
This is exactly, what Russ Fisher-Ives and his Co-Founders are doing, with RoboRave International.
Russ Fisher-Ives, Co-Founder, RoboRAVE, joined me on Tech Trends on Channels Television recently and shared his thoughts on Robotics in Nigeria.
CFA: Why Robotics in Nigeria?
Fisher-Ives: Robotics brings in, the technology for the 21st century. As we move to make our machines smarter, so, they run more efficiently, they use resources better. We start to take our old machines and we start to bring in, computer coding and micro-processors, so, our old machines become smart machines.
How are you going to do that? Well, you have, to understand sensor, you have, to understand how to code, how to write the instructions here, for the machine that runs it. When you’ve got your instructions in, does it do what you want? Well, that’s when you get into coding. We don’t want to teach coding to teach coding. We want to engage kids with Robotics, so, they can get excited and they take a little bit of knowledge and they get excited to do something and they go, “teach me more”.
And so, why Robotics in Nigeria? Well, why not? Nigeria is the fastest growing country in this continent. It’s got a very young population. It’s got the opportunity to bring skills for employment and when you plant a seed, we really see ourselves as farmers. We’re planting seeds. If you plant those seeds in the minds of curious kids, not the adults. We need the adults, but the curiosity in kids, then, you have a garden, full of new ideas and so, I think Nigeria is a perfect setting, to plant the seeds, for the next wave of entrepreneurs, for Africa.
CFA: Have you, in RoboWAVE, helped to improve the number of women in technology.
Fisher-Ives: We do and we got the data to show that we run Arti International. Up to, between 40 to 45% of the participants, are girls and one of the ways we did it? In the early years, we didn’t have girls. It was all boys, so, we said, oh, let’s give teams, points, if they have a girl, so, they went to get a girl and the girl, just sat there and the girls got bored and they left.
A couple of girls came to me about 8 years ago and said, “we want to quit”. I said, why? They said, “the boys won’t let us play”. I told them, “form your own team”. “We can form our own girls’ team”, they asked, “Absolutely”, I said to them. By forming all-girl team, they really got to share and touch and do what the boys have been doing while they watched. This started a wave and the girls started coming and beating the boys.
You can watch the full interview here