About two and a half years ago, addressing the nation during the 114th National Day celebrations, His Majesty The King reminded the people about the importance, relevance and the rapid technological advancements we are beginning to see.

The Royal concern was whether the people would be in a position to take advantage of the opportunities presented by technology like Blockchain, Fintech, Quantum Computing, Artificial Reality, Virtual Reality, Metaverse, Robotics, Machine Learning and Web 3.0. The expectation was preparing for the future equipped with the skills, competencies and experience to succeed and compete in the world. The command was to provide utmost priority to skill, up-skill, and re-skill our people to make them world-ready.

This week, a small step in the same direction, students of Gyalpoizhing College of Information Technology presented some projects in line with the Royal aspirations. The college itself is a brainchild of His Majesty to equip our young generation with 21st century skills to stay relevant.

Using artificial intelligence to sort out students and place them in appropriate courses for the much-awaited Gyalsung programme, developing mobile applications for everyday issues like parking space and payment system and technology easing service delivery are noteworthy developments.

What we can be convinced of is that with right guidance, policy, programmes and tools, we could leverage technology to provide solutions to everyday problems. What is more encouraging from the small developments is that the projects are developed as a part of their college courses. It is an indication that the potential is vast and we can tap it with the right approach.

While many expect AI to solve complex problems, simple applications like a farmer being alerted by an approaching wild animal, elephant or a monkey are handy tools if not the crucial for saving lives and livelihoods.

What we see today in the small projects developed by students of Gyalpoizhing is a good beginning. It is the fruit of recognising our priorities and, above all, the wise leadership in even choosing what our young people should learn.

What the students are doing is finding solutions to our local problems to start with. It is already impressive considering that we have never relied on college students to find solutions to everyday issues. A group of third-year students working on a prototype of an AI sign language translator to bridge communication gaps among the hearing impaired is already a good beginning. If they can translate signs into text and voice, it will change the way we provide care and teach our students who cannot hear.

It is an achievement if students of our technical colleges can come up with gadgets or applications to help burdensome systems or problems.  What was showcased at Kabesa is a small beginning. From the results, we gain confidence in our youth’s potential.