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Software Engineering: The Driving Force of Contemporary Society

Hi everyone, my name is Krishantini, a Grade 11 student at Glenforest Secondary School. This Saturday, I had the privilege of attending Sangeet Parashar’s Think Tank on “Engineering your Life Using Software” as a part of the Associate National Lead program. It was a great experience where I got exposed to new ideas and perspectives, met like-minded peers and built my professional network.

Through this Think Tank, I was fortunate enough to have heard Sangeet’s journey from high school to university to who he is today. Unlike the picture perfect journeys we are so often presented with, Sangeet’s story felt more relatable and realistic than those stories with people who were able to find their “true passion” the second they walked out of their high school graduation. Sangeet shared how he changed his major 4 times before he finally was able to find his interest in computer science. This was a source of comfort as I am trying to navigate my future to find that “perfect path,” yet Sangeet’s journey highlighted that there is no such thing. It is with failure, exploration, and trial and error that one’s passion and interests can be discovered. In contemporary society, these ideas are often talked about as if they were innate- however, Sangeet’s story proves otherwise as passion is not something we are just born with but rather something we learn with experience.

Conversely, Sangeet also shared what a typical day of a software engineer looks like: planning, stand up meetings, designing solutions, 1:1 programming and debugging. This insight was helpful in self-reflection regarding my interests and ideals, and in turn, assessing the viability of this career path for me.

Furthermore, Sangeet highlighted the increasing dependence of technology in contemporary society - which to most of us is no surprise. However, we often overestimate our knowledge regarding technology as most of us believe we know how technology works when in actuality we are unfamiliar with its driving force: AI (Artificial Intelligence). In blatant terms, AI is something that helps consumers make their lives easier. Some common examples are ChatGPT, Grammarly, Amazon chatbot, Notion, etc. One of the most common uses of AI is chatbot. A lot of companies use chatbots on their websites for an increased efficiency in customer service as they provide solutions/answers to frequently asked questions in real time. This not only makes the customers’ lives easier but also aids the business by saving time, resources and increasing their likability and in turn their customer retention.

To make this Think Tank even more engaging, Sangeet demonstrated how to create a personalized chatbot for a potential burger company. Together, we created a chatbox that can interpret burger orders by using programming/ Although we use technology everyday, we are often oblivious to it as we overlook technology to be merely the blatant screens in front of us. However, it was quite surreal to see how technology (not the stereotypical representation one often thinks of) fits into and interacts with everyday human activity. It was also quite mind-boggling to think about how just a few lines of code could do such amazing things that we are so dependent on throughout our day-to-day lives.

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