Practice English Speaking&Listening with: FIRST Robotics: Who are the Celebrities of the Future?

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The only way I can decide whether to do something or not

is to play the mental model in my head of if it succeeds will it had have enough

impact on the world, that giving up something you'll never get back, the time it took to do it,

was worth whatever that impact will be, if it succeeds.

In a free culture where you get what you celebrate,

you have to celebrate people that had the bold vision, put it all together,

and then delivered a better world.

Some of these young kids, 30 or 40 years from today,

will have for instance won a Nobel Prize.

Major breakthroughs that will change the way the future looks

will happen as a result of what they did. And I will be able to say,

"I was part of that."

My name is Emma Harland,

and I have been part of First since I was eight years old.

First is all about growing your mind in both STEM, (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) as well as being a better person.

When people don't know what First is all about and they're like: "Your a geek, you get to build robots, that's so nerdy!"

I come back at them, and I'm like "Yeah?"

We started first, when I saw a need,

to help a whole generation of kids

find something important to do.

I set this thing up to be a cultural change agent:

I wanted First to change the culture of the United States.

The invention of First is to package science and technology to be more appealing, and more exciting to kids than bounce bounce throw.

There aren't that many jobs for people that do that,

but there are career opportunities for millions of people not only in companies that exist now, but companies that will exist because of these kids.

In fact, companies and industries that don't even exist today will be created by these kids!

I had this simple vision: We know how to that! The roadmap is there.

The NFL, the NBA, Hollywood, they've known how to capture the hearts and minds of kids,

and make them super passionate. Kids that have been cheated out of even going after these opportunities.

(crowd cheering)

I've been pushing First for more than 22 years.

Most people would look at the growth of it and say "This is phenomenal!"

But after 22 years it certainly hasn't met its original goal.

A million people: A big number, but not compared to 7 billion.

Not when it's the million, with the skill sets and the attitude

to fix the world.

It should be a much bigger number.

My name is Dave Lavery, I'm the program executive for Solar System exploration at NASA headquarters in Washington.

I grew up during the 60s in the Apollo era, and the Apollo program was the inspiration I looked to.

Very close to twenty years ago I was running the robotics research program of the agency,

every year people would come in from the NASA labs and make proposals for the work they wanted to do next year.

I kept noticing it was the same faces, over and over and over again and they were getting a little bit older and

there was nobody behind them to be the next generation of robotics experts.

Three kids in my neighborhood happen to see this very quick piece on evening television about the First Competition.

They came down the street next day to talk to me and my neighbor, and said,

"You guys make robots for NASA, we saw thing about this robot competition would you help us?"

As soon as we got involved, we realized this was the next generation of engineers we were looking for.

Soon after that we realized: It wasn't really about just a couple robotic engineers, but it is really all about the mentoring relationship

that gets set up between the engineers and the students.

(crowd cheering)

I've become a better person through First. We do whatever it takes,

even going out of our way to allow another team to be able to compete.

This year in the Orlando regional, two teams had been in a car accident.

The night before the regional we completely rebuilt their robots.

That is why one team is here today, they won that regional.

Even in the first year, when the competition wasn't this tough, I was already worried.

I love the sports model, because it gets to billions.

But there are things about some sports and the way people play them, that don't make me proud.

The science community tend to come from a fairly unique perspective, and it's one that, personally I wish could be shared across the board.

A lot of NASA's activities for example, when I was younger and growing up,

very definitely were politically motivated by the effects of the Cold War

and it was a certainly very strong competitive aspect to what we were doing in the race to the Moon.

At the same time that was happening, within the planetary and space science community,

on both sides of the Iron Curtain, we recognized that there was a bigger goal there,

that we really want to try to learn about space and the Universe and our place within it.

"What did your space satellite just learn?"

"What did we just learn, and and can we increase our global knowledge as a result of both our activities?"

Whenever we get hyper-competitive I tend to think back to that and realize: "Yeah I may be competing

with these folks right now over this topic, but we may become very close collaborators."

These kids are learning that right now and they're going to be the generation

who are going to take that whole philosophy forward and really, I hope, make it a true societal value.

I thought, right after the first season worked so well with every team that played,

that okay: "It will now sweep the country because it's a critical problem, it's a problem that's gotta be solved,

the mentors loved, it the parents loved it, the kids loved it!"

I figured: "That's what I did with my summer vacation, we created this institution that will change the culture of the country,

now I go back to my other problems." I really thought that.

By the fifth year, pretty much all the Fortune 500 were adopting schools. But you have to be a Fortune 500 to be able to afford

to take kids and parents and teachers and put them in airplanes and fly them to the one event.

Kids can be made to be excited by the Super Bowl about football or the World Series about baseball,

but if the only way they could actually try it was to have a professional athlete fly them to a place, put them in a hotel...

....It's not scalable.

Unless they could go out in the neighborhood and play little league, we're toast.

"Harrison High School, shout-out to the Hackbots!"

We have lots of fun along the way, lots of things that go wrong in the best ways possible.

Yet, we know how to fix them.

(Hackbots team cheer)

My name is Madiha El Mehelmy Kotb. This is my first time in First Robotics. And I'm here as the president elect of ASME.

What I've seen in my lifetime that made me the eternal optimist is actually the interest of people to provide solutions.

The interest of young people to contribute and make a difference.

My generation when we were growing up, we were looking for a profession because it was respected in society; we could make a good living out of it.

But today, you speak to the young people, they want to make a difference. When I come to an event like this,

you cannot not have hope in the future when you look at the multiculturalism.

When you look at the collaborative efforts between the teams. That encourages me a lot. Much more than the technology.

(Announcer at the event) "If you can hear my voice, do the bunny hop!"

(Crowd applauding)

I'm Emma Dumont, and I am a First student, I'm captain of a FRC Team, First Robotics Competition.

I'm also an actor. I have so much in common with my teammates and my mentors, but in the end I think it's the building,

the "I can do this, here's a challenge and I can build it!" That's what keeps me coming back.

I find that the most successful people in a science or technology field,

they know what is already known, very well. But they think about what isn't already known.

I'm Ben Senson, I'm from Madison, Wisconsin. First and foremost a family man!

My first occupational passion was teaching. If we approach education the wrong way, we teach protocols for getting a known solution from a known starting point...

...You know, The canned lab.

Kids these days don't value don't value 'knowing' things, quite as deeply and personally as our generation did.

You know, when I was growing up, if you were working on a project: You knew if you didn't trudge to that library

and get the book, if someone didn't already check it out, you were in deep do-do.

This generation is like "I'll just Wikipedia it and I'll download it."

They don't value knowing the trivia, they value having the access path.

So what we have to celebrate is the interaction. We have to celebrate the power of curiosity.

If we really do think: "Oh my god, you guys live in a generation where you can look up and

find anything and you can see these beautiful relationships that other people have drawn from information."

If that's really where we draw a line in the sand, then it implies that we're done with the world.

That really, all you've got to do is find what other people have done. I think it goes exactly the other way if you do it right.

If you get kids to recognize the power of the knowledge and skills that other people have put out there for you,

and then you embrace that with a confidence that you can interact with it in a meaningful way and come up with something new and unique: That's incredibly powerful.

My name is Woodie Flowers. That's really my name.

I'm Pappalardo Professor Emeritus at MIT. I grew up in a small town in Louisiana, literally dirt-poor family.

I got a chance to go to college because I have a crooked left arm, so I got a rehabilitation scholarship.

I've always been surrounded by people that are much brighter than me, and that's helped.

In First, the robots are all natural. Mother Nature applies all of her rules all of the time.

So when you build something, and Mother Nature inspects it and says "Nuh uh," you get slapped on the hand. That's tough feedback.

If they do a good job of that and they make it work: Then they're not going to have self-esteem because some adult told them they should.

They're gonna reflect and say "Yeah, I did that!" Mother Nature, self, team, society:

If you check those boxes in your own head, I believe you're in a much better place

to say "I have rational self-esteem and I think I can go tackle tough problems."

A student that we worked with many years ago was at the time a gang member.

He got involved with the robotics team and realized there's a different way that he had been just totally blind to.

And once someone showed him this was a possibility, he just took it and ran.

He backed out of the gang life and focused on his robotics team, and ended up taking them all the way to a national championship.

Then, for the first time of anyone in his family ended, up going to college and got a teaching degree.

Those sort of stories are happening all over the place.

Even though there are a lot of problems we can solve with technology, sometimes it's better to do it yourself,

as a human. There's a reason we have feelings, there's a reason we have morals. And I think it's important to keep those morals.

To keep those those dreams. Even as you pursue higher technology, and a better world.

Every year I think: "This is the year that media will descend upon First

and it will sweep through the country and become the primary activity that drives kids in their aspirational after school life."

This year we handed out 29,000 kits,

to teams from 69 countries,

64 regionals.

At the championship we handed out 16 million dollars in scholarships.

We had a 121,000 volunteer mentors.

It's been 22 years and still,

First is nowhere near the cultural change agent I hoped it would be.

It's not available in every school, or even close.

The average kid in this country, still, by the time they're 6,7,8, can tell you the name of a whole lot of famous people from Hollywood.

Or the NBA. You still can't ask the average kid in this country: "Tell me the name of a single famous, living scientist or engineer."

And get anything but a blank stare.

I get up every morning...

with irrational exuberance and optimism about all my projects.

At the end of the day, I always recognize how much further there is to go, how difficult this project is going to be.

How many bumps we've already seen in this road,

and the fact that the end of the road isn't even visible certainly is a reality to me.

This is one of the clocks that I build as a trophy.

The first teams that win the big awards, that really get it...

The trophies are clocks, and since I make the kids spend a lot of time making stuff, I figured

the only fair way to make sure that they know we appreciate it is that I make the trophies.

And I want the winner each year to see: Time is moving.

And we have to urgently...


Because the world's in a race, between all sorts of catastrophes,

and technical expertise.

And whether it's environmental issues, healthcare issues...

We can't let catastrophe win.

The Description of FIRST Robotics: Who are the Celebrities of the Future?