Mark Zuckerberg elicited a huge response when he announced his plans to engineer a robot with AI to help him with taking care of his newborn and performing household chores. His goals include for the robot to be able to take voice commands and help create visual models of data in virtual reality.
Zuckerberg claimed the robot would be like Jarvis in the comic book and hit movie Iron Man.
Even more astounding, Zuckerberg wants to write most of the code himself.
“Mark says he wants to write the code, but he’d find it easier if he starts with a it like the one from iRobot,” stated Strategy Analytics research director Sue Rudd. She also said Robotis Mini Robot Kit could do him well.
However, perhaps even more astounding than Zuckerberg’s goal is his inclination to make it a challenge as opposed to attempting to complete it in the easiest way possible.
His unique methods drew comments and even product advertisements from the best and worst of the internet.
Once comment in particular received a lot of replies, including one from Zuckerberg himself. Darlene Loretto wrote that she always advises her granddaughters to “date the nerd in school, he may turn out to be a Mark Zuckerberg!”
Zuckerberg then replied that it would be “Even better… to encourage them to *be* the nerd in their school so they can be the next successful inventor!”
This set the internet on fire once again as feminists praised Zuckerberg’s vision.
Zuckerberg’s not the first tech guru to notice that women are underrepresented in the nerd fields, now called STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The Obama administration has stated that encouraging women to enter these fields of study and work is one of the core strategies for keeping America’s tech industry competitive with that of other countries. Currently the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy is collaborating with the White House Council on Women and Girls to increase the participation of women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM categories.
The European Union has also seen merit in the movement; their main organization dedicated to encouraging women to enter into the sciences is called TWIST or Towards Women in Science and Technology.
Unfortunately, despite these efforts, the number of women in physics, engineering and computer science is low globally and actually declining in many countries, including the United States. Even in countries where the number of women studying science and technology has increased, the amount of women employed in those fields has not increased accordingly.
Comments like Zuckerberg’s will hopefully help to turn the tide:
“It would be great to see STEAM and STEM programs at schools quoting [Zuckerberg] on this suggestion that girls should be nerds, not just try to date them,” stated research director at Strategy Analytics Susan Welsh de Grimaldo.
“There are lots of sports role models, but fewer food nerd role models, especially female role models.” With the proper role models, cultures could move forward to the extent that they “transform the idea that innovating and creating technology is not just a nerd thing, or that being a nerd is a very positive thing.”