These kids of today; not only do they think they’re smart, they know they’re smart. In ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, penned by the prolific writer, Charles Dickens, the opening reads as such:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness…”
This book was written way back in 1859 and yet what it presents itself as is as relevant today as it was then. We are living in the best of times and the worst of times. We’ve got the best technology to aid us in our everyday lives, yet we can’t seem to solve world hunger or achieve world peace. We live in a day and age where free speech is part of our constitutions, yet people are still punished brutally if they’re not careful about what they say.
If there’s one thing that I think mankind really struggles with, it’s balance. All too often excess is the preferred manner in which to tackle things and this ultimately creates an imbalance. But, there is always hope. Quite often there is a way out and the world in which we find ourselves in, while riddled with fault, has also gifted us with quicker and easier means to come by knowledge. Is it any wonder then that tomorrow’s great minds and future leaders are already beginning to expose themselves at ages much younger than expected?
Tomorrow’s Leaders: Younger Than Expected!
Prodigies and brilliant young minds are nothing new to this world, but their impact and potential should never be overlooked. Pablo Picasso, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Tiger Woods before the fall, and Jason Rubin might be people from very different art forms or professions, but what they all have in common is that they were child prodigies – and as a result achieved greatness at young ages and left indelible marks on what they pursued. Picasso on modern art, Mozart on music, Woods on golf and Rubin on gaming. Moreover, who can discount what Rubin and his friend Andy Gavin did for the gaming industry?
At the mere ages of 15, these two formed Naughty Dog and started developing games in their basement. The end result? Crash Bandicoot, one of the PlayStation’s most successful gaming franchises. Crash Bandicoot is to PlayStation what the casino online game Thunderstruck is to Microgaming. I suspect that the climate of tech we now live in provides a great breeding ground for young minds, if utilised correctly. Already there are young amazing minds emerging and doing incredible things, at which point I feel it’s important that we make mention of just a few.
Julian Rios Cantu: This kid from Mexico is just 13 years old and already he’s made a contribution to one of the biggest ills of our day – cancer. After witnessing the damaging effects the disease had on his mother, who lost both breasts as a result, young Julian along with three friends established a company called Higia Technologies and are now in the process of developing a bra-like garment fitted with senses. The bra looks for changes in skin temperature and elasticity, and then feeds information into an app that calculates the risk.
Hannah Herbst: This 17 year old from Florida USA is specialising in hydroelectricity. When she was 15 she became pen-pals with a 9 year old from Ethiopia and found out that this girl had no access to lights. This singular fact spurred her on to create the Beacon (Bringing Electricity Access to Countries through Ocean Energy). This youngster figured out that populations generally tend to settle near water and based on this information designed a device consisting of a hollow plastic tube, a propeller and a hydroelectric generator, to put it as plainly as possible. If scaled up, her design could charge three car batteries at once within the span of an hour. However, her intentions are a lot nobler; she foresees use in the areas of medicine and water purification.
Rifath Sharook: This bright lad from India is only 17 but has his eyes firmly set on space. Inspired by his father, who regrettably passed on, young Rifath formed a six-person team with the sole intention of creating a lightweight satellite. Thus far the outcome from sessions going deep into the night has produced a 64g device, something no bigger than a big battery. This tiny satellite, known as the KalamSat, contains all kinds of sensors that can measure altitude, temperature and whatever pressures weigh down on it as it lunges through space. Lightweight materials and their endurance in terms of space is something high on the agenda at NASA, apparently.
Finally we have Keiana Cavé, 18, from New Orleans and on a mission to clean up the oil spills of the ocean. At the young age of 15, she began studying the effects of oil left on the surface of the ocean. Her need to study was spurred on by the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 that devastated that part of the ocean and caused the marine life to suffer badly. Her studies have led to two scientific papers dealing with the detection of carcinogens caused from spilled oil and its exposure to UV rays. She’s established a start-up with the intention of working towards ways to dispose of the damage caused by such spills with a lessening effect on the environment.
A Final Word
It’s inspiring to know that there are people out there committed to change; that there are people with a genuine vested interest in the affairs of this world and who want to see the greater community of this earth prosper. It’s also good to know that there are a lot more people like these four teens that I’ve mentioned, and it’s pleasing to know that even in today’s age of wars, famine, corruption and pollution, that as a species we can still demonstrate an incredible capacity for good.