07/12/18 STOA Annual Lecture 2018

On December 4th the European Parliament organized the STOA (European Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment) Annual Lecture 2018 on ‘Quantum Technologies, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity: Catching up with the future’.

One of the speakers of the event was Esther Wojcicki, American technology educator and journalist, from the Palo Alto High Media Arts programme, who did her lecture on ‘Preparing students for a world dominated by quantum technologies, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and media’.

During her speech she highlighted that her goal in the Palo Alto High Media Arts programme is to train students to be able to deal with quantum technology, AI, cybersecurity and media. ‘We need to teach students basic security skills, so they will become partners in cybersecurity’. 

EU citizens are increasingly concerned about cybersecurity, especially ahead of 2019 elections. This is where quantum technology will come in handy. Quantum encryption will ensure a more secure communication.

In the educational front we need to have the courage to change what we teach in our schools because the world is changing very fast and jobs are evolving thanks to technology.

So the real question would be: are we preparing kids for the jobs of the future? ‘Worldwide the curriculum is outdated, we are teaching for the last century, putting focus on memorization’.

The lecturer believes we still need the traditional education, but perhaps not so intensively. We need more project based classes (web development, AI, machine learning, etc.). Students learn by doing.

Some of the skills future professionals will need include: complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management or emotional intelligence, amongst others.

The key to a good education, according to Esther Wojcicki is 4 concepts that can be reduced to the acronym TRICK: Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration and Kindness within the classroom.