As technology becomes an ever-growing part of our lives, boosting the number of young people entering scientific and engineering careers is a priority for many economies. The great news for the next generation of innovators is that science is fun. Imparting that message to kids is one of the most important building blocks for changing things in the future.
This is especially true for girls who are still often left behind when it comes to engineering careers. That’s why one of the reasons we held the first-ever Quantcast Kids’ Hackathon in our London office this weekend with a particular focus on artificial intelligence (AI).
Quantcast invited 30 kids, aged between four and 10, to become engineers for the day. Our London office was transformed into a boisterous kids’ zone featuring four different robots that the kids could interact with. Our team of engineers researched myriad games and activities for girls and boys to code, test, play, and learn about AI using the robots. The team of kids used logic, trial and error, and persistence as engineers tailored age-appropriate experiences for each child. The kids learned that there are countless, fun applications for coding.
AI made fun. AI made simple. We want to impart this message early while these kids are still young. We know that’s when it can make the deepest impact.
While the kids and their families had a great time—as did our team—we hosted this event for a very important reason. We know the current stats on the number of women pursuing STEM fields—and we don’t like what we see. Currently, 28% of people with computer science degrees are women. Only 18-20% of all engineering students are women. Women make up just 25% of computing-related occupations as of 2015.
Our goal this past Sunday afternoon was to help plant an early seed with girls and boys so they can develop a rewarding and challenging career in a field that our team of engineers love so much.
We’d like to thank our partners for helping us ignite a spark in the next generation of scientists and engineers. We would especially like to thank: Renault, Lloyds Bank, Epson, Mindshare World, Direct Line Insurance, More Than, VW, and Carat Global.
And, a big thank you to the kids who joined us!