will.i.am inspires future STEM minds at book talk
'Engineering is the coolest thing in the world, but it's also the world's best kept secret,' says the star
Posted by Julian Owen | February 13, 2018 | Technology
william, stem, brian-david-johnson, futurist, wizards-and-robots, engineering, novel, institution-of-engineering-and-technology-iet

Choosing STEM means the opportunity to do something life changing,” was the resounding message from music artist, tech entrepreneur and STEM education advocate, will.i.am. The star has teamed up with futurist Brian David Johnson to write a young-adult novel, ‘Wizards and Robots’, an action-packed, STEM-inspired adventure. Together, the pair appeared at a book talk and signing hosted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). 

Sharing the IET’s vision to inspire young people about the countless possibilities studying STEM presents, they gave an insight into their own work and offered predictions for the future of tech, including robots as companions and sentient technology, and how the innovators of tomorrow will have the power to change the world. 

will.i.am said: “I was a recipient in the past of someone thinking forward, paying forward and giving me an opportunity. I was bused from the ghetto to a better charter school to learn science, technology, computers, oceanography, physics. Somebody doing good changed my life. Now that I have an opportunity to do good, I want to do that for other folks.  

Engineering is the coolest thing in the world, but it’s also the world’s best kept secret. If you want to solve the world’s problems, this is the way you go about it. That’s some superhero stuff right there. The real superheroes are scientists and engineers.” 

will.i.am received his Honorary Fellowship from the IET in 2017 and, whilst at the event, took the opportunity to sign his name in the IET’s ‘Roll of Honorary Fellows and Faraday Medallists’ book. The honour dates back to 1873 and is awarded to esteemed scientists, technicians and engineers, recognised by the IET as having made a significant contribution to the advancement of engineering and technology innovation across the world. 

Nigel Fine, Chief Executive of the IET, said: “will.i.am is an enthusiastic user of technologies in both his professional and personal life, fusing the worlds of technology, culture, fashion, and artificial intelligence across his work and is an incredible STEM role model to young people. I am delighted that he is being recognised by the IET for his work. 

The IET inspires young people about STEM and how its endless possibilities could lead to an exciting and fulfilling career in engineering and technology. Having advocates like will.i.am adding so much passion to its importance will go a long way to ensuring we secure the next generation of engineers and innovators.”

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