To inspire a generation of tech entrepreneurs who can change the world, the Foresight Institute has come up with a simple but brilliant plan: give students an optimistic vision for the future. To do this, Foresight is launching a Youth Outreach pilot program that will send a set of books to the top 300 science and engineering college clubs, high school STEM educators, and youth programs for gifted students in the US. This will be followed up with an essay contest for students to write about the vision of the future presented in the books.
The set includes key texts in the singularity world, such as Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil, important books about the future of health like Ending Aging by Aubrey De Grey, works in nanotechnology, such as Engines of Creation by Eric Drexler, and other books with big ideas and bold visions of the future.
In contrast to the deluge of negative stories on the nightly news, imagine how even one of these texts could change the way students view the future, showing them the power technology to make our lives better?
To promote the project, Foresight released the following video:
In an interview with moonandback media, Desiree Dudley, Director of Development & Outreach, says about Foresight, “We as an organization think of ourselves at this point as a networking organization.” In that vein, the Youth Outreach program is a way to connect a generation of young students interested in technology with ideas from today’s thought leaders that are thinking deeply about trends that are shaping the future. In the promotional video for the project, author of 100 Plus Sonia Arrison said, “The way to change the world is to target young people when they’re just forming their ideas…and really getting those people on board with issues.”
Christine Peterson, who is co-founder of the Foresight Institute, describes the Institute’s motive in this new endeavor: “Our role here at Foresight is to look farther ahead and say, ‘How can we help steer these young people, these future geniuses and Noble prize winners of tomorrow, into the fields that really matter for our species [and] the environment, things like nanotechnology?’” Miguel Aznar, Director of Education at Foresight, added, “Who will be creating that nanotechnology? Well, many of them are still in school, and that’s why Foresight is sharing ideas from the visionaries of our time.” In fact, one of the works included in the set is Aznar’s own book called NanoScience Education, WorkForce Training, and K12 Resources that provides educators and school groups a roadmap for nanotechnology education.
The Institute is aiming to raise $30,000 in donations to make the project a success.
Last spring, Singularity Hub members had the privilege of participating in Google Hangouts with both Desiree and Christine to get more insight into the core mission of the Foresight Institute and how they are serving to connect laypeople with experts passionate about the future. This latest program is a testament of their hard work to provide the next generation the tools they need to shape the future.