Puhe VEX IQ –robotiikan EM-kilpailuissa Riihimäellä 12.1.2019

Europarlamentaarikko Miapetra Kumpula-Natri toimi Riihimäellä 12.-13.1.2019 järjestettyjen, ensimmäisten VEX IQ –robotiikan EM-kilpailujen suojelijana. Kilpailuihin osallistui 25 joukkuetta viidestä eri maasta.

Miapetran 12.1.2019 pitämä kisojen avauspuhe:

A warm welcome to Finland and Riihimäki. And a warm welcome to the first ever VEX IQ Challenge European Open! I wish to thank all the organisers behind this event and wish all the participants the best of luck for the upcoming challenges.

Before we begin the games, let me say a couple of words about the future.

Back in 1943, when computers were a new thing, the president of IBM predicted that “there is a world market for maybe five computers”. Today we have hundreds of small robots, made of small computers, running on the floor, trying to compete in the various tasks. Predicting the future is hard, but I bet nobody thought 50-60 years ago that young people would be competing in robotics!

In the last decades, humans have made unheard and unseen progress in technology. Ever-faster computers and the internet have revolutionized the way we manufacture things, the way we study and even the way we interact with each other.

However, a big change is still coming. The best part of events like today is that they show that technology is accessible to all and can benefit all. It is not just the super-rich or the best scientists, but everyone, all students and all people, who can take advantage of robotics and artificial intelligence. Through initiatives such as these robotic competitions, we are democratising technology.

Teaching technology skills to young people is extremely important. Finland has been a world leader in including coding, creative thinking and other skills to the curriculums so that youngsters are ready to the new world.

But it is also a challenge for us, who have already left school – parents, teachers, politicians. How many of you think your mother or father could build a robot and participate in this competition? We need to learn too! I think we should invest even more in life-long learning and programs that could teach adults the same skills that you participants already have.

The European Union has put learning, skills and science in the heart of policy. For the next seven-year budget we are right now negotiating, we are planning to invest over 9 billion euros in digital initiatives, from the world’s fastest super-computer to the re- and up-skilling of workers. EU is investing in research in artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, 5G and many many other new technologies. The message is: we are not afraid of change, we are not afraid of technology – on the contrary, we believe technology will be the key for a better future.

EU wants to have skills for, including girls on IT sector. Today I am happy to see a room full of skilful and bright boys and girls.

I have understood one of the tasks in these robotic competitions is to lift and move hubs in order to get points. Maybe in ten years, you will be making robots that can tackle climate change, help with autonomous driving or go to the Moon or beyond! The core issue remains the same: solving problems by adapting technology. It is exactly what we need in Finland, in Europe and the World.

These days we are enthusiastic and curious about artificial intelligence − but today is about youth intelligence!

I wish you the best of times here in the European Opens!

Riihimäen kaupunginhallituksen puheenjohtaja Miia Nahkuri, Miapetra ja Riihimäen sivistysjohtaja Esa Santakallio Robotiikan EM-kisoissa 12.1.2019