Last year, two other Quest students and I started talking about technology, and Quest’s relationship with it. We noticed that, although many students at Quest are interested in technology in various forms, we didn’t have any kind of major gathering or event that allowed Quest students to explore this interest. We decided to do something about it, and the idea for the Our_Futures Academic Conference was born. Since then we have put countless hours into planning this conference, recruiting speakers, securing funding, and setting up a website. With registration about to go live in the next few days, I wanted to publish a post about this exciting opportunity for Quest students to become more familiar with technology and its implications, and for people outside of Quest to become more familiar with what we do up in Squamish.
Our_Futures is an academic conference taking place on February 11th, 2017, which aims to lead the discussion about the limitations and possibilities of technology. Attendees will participate in a series of Keynote Talks throughout the day about topics ranging from how machine learning and quantum computing will impact business, to how we can build ethical machines, to the future of automated surgery. In addition to Keynote talks, attendees will attend smaller workshops throughout the day hosted by academics, start-up leaders, and Quest students with experience in the tech space. The workshops will examine a broad range of questions such as “What is our changing relationship with data?”, “How can computers help us choose the ethics of our RoboCars and SexBots?”, and “What are greatest challenges faced by modern astronomy techniques?”.
Another key part of this conference is the networking potential. Many start-ups and industry leaders will be represented at the conference, which gives Quest students the chance to find internships and research opportunities, as well as a change to connect with students and academics outside of Quest who are interested in similar areas.
I’ve been working on this conference for quite a few months now, and it is amazing seeing it come together. It is a great example of how students are empowered at Quest; if any student has an idea for a club or event and they are committed to putting in the work to make it happen, they can find a lot of support from the administration and the Student Representative Council.
Quest is a university that was designed for the 21st century. Technology will be a key sculptor of this century, and I am excited that Quest is staying true to its founders’ ideals by preparing students for a century of dramatic change, innovation, and problem solving.