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I am sure it is no secret by now about the story of Ahmed Mohamed being arrested due to lack of understanding and knowledge about modern technology. Today saw an absolute uproar from the global tech community as news of the incident spread virally throughout the internet. For those that don't know the story yet, here is a break down:
Ahmed Mohamed attends the MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas. From what I have seen from his video and information about his inventions he is a very talented young individual that dedicates his time to creating inventions that he wants to use to help better the community around him. Photos and videos that have been shared around the internet clearly show his dedication and passion to technology, his room is not unlike my own work area with wires, gadgets and inventions that he is working on.
One of his recent projects was a digital clock that he had created, he admitted it was not one of his more advanced projects and that he had simply thrown it together in 20 minutes. He took the item into school to share with his teachers and class mates and ultimately ended up being arrested due to his teachers and police thinking he created a bomb, to add insult to injury he was also suspended and threatened with expulsion.
There are so many reasons why this situation is completely unacceptable, no matter what is said on behalf of the school etc this is just wrong and should of never have happened. The fact is that Ahmed Mohamed and people like him are the future of our civilization, yet the rest of the world is yet to wake up and realize this. As it has been for so long, creative minds are drowned in the ignorance of society, but times have changed and this won't be allowed by the tech community anymore.
We are in a whole new ball game now, and people like Ahmed, even myself, dedicate their lives to creating technology that will help people excel in all areas of life. OK I am not talking about the clock here, but the principle of the matter. It is not acceptable that Ahmed was made to feel like that, can you really understand just how the incident made him feel? A 14 year old boy excited to share something that he created with his own mind, imagination and hands, taking it into school where the teachers SHOULD fully be aware of what this type of technology is, and then ending up put in handcuffs and made to feel like a criminal.
When I watched his video my heart sank! Although I had not been in that exact situation, all of my developing life I have faced a world that doesn't understand what I do, that will try and put me down because THEY don't understand it or it annoys them because it is out of their depth, I have even literally dumbed my self down intentionally and made myself look like stupid so as not to show people up, I began to accept phrases like "He doesn't think normally he is a tech" and "don't worry no one understands him, he can't communicate properly" and this is not acceptable for anyone to go through, with this incident today I feel that things will start to change for the better for all developers and techs globally.
As the news spread, the tech community exploded with support for Ahmed, the struggles of one boy have opened the eyes to the entire tech community about what it is like to push through a barrier of sheer ignorance. Based on quotes taken from a Dallas News article, here are some of my views:
According to Dallas News Ahmed initially showed his device to his engineering teacher, whose reply was:
"That’s really nice, I would advise you not to show any other teachers."
Hang on a minute, an engineering teacher clearly understanding that the device was a harmless invention, yet tells him that he should not show other teachers. First up, why did the engineering teacher not notify the rest of the teachers to ensure that they 100% knew that this was not a dangerous device, again can you imagine how Ahmed felt at this early stage being told not to show off his work because OTHERS wouldn't understand. Had the engineering teacher done his job I would presume that none of this would of happened, but then again, apart from the trauma that Ahmed went through, what has happened seems to be having positive ripples globally.
Again according to Dallas News, when police spokesman James McLellan was interviewed he apparently said:
"We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb, he kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation."
UMM, that is because it is a clock, how much broader would you like the explanation to be, he developed a digital clock out of parts that he had lying around in his workshop/bedroom.
Further in the discussion McLellan stated:
"It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?"
OK, so rewind a second, you are looking at a digital clock, it tells the time and everything, but you are somehow confused into thinking that this could possibly be an explosive device? Out of an entire school and the police that were involved in the fiasco, only ONE person could identify that this was a harmless device that Ahmed had invented and was happy to share with his teachers and classmates? Where was the engineering teacher at this time, from the sounds of it the only person involved with the situation that could of given a professional opinion on the clock just let all of this continue without speaking up?
According to Dallas News, Ahmed said:
"Here in high school, none of the teachers know what I can do,"
How can this be? Talented individuals working alone with no support, no one to talk to for inspiration or an understanding person to turn to for help or comfort? How much pure genious and talent is rotting away behind close doors because the world cannot be bothered to understand things that go outside of their comfort zones?
The simple fact is that if the school had any idea what was going on in the real world, Ahmed would of been praised for his invention and would of left school that day feeling a small sense of pride that his work, however small a project, had been accepted and acknowledged, but instead he was handcuffed and made to feel like a criminal.
The world needs to understand that people that have these gifts, mostly, create inventions for the good of others, it is a very small and lonely place when you are made to feel alienated because of other peoples ignorance, and the school has no excuses, they have a duty to teach children about the world and prepare them what is to come when they leave, how can a school do this when they don't even understand it themselves?
I sense that this event will of triggered what is required to make the tech community do something about this now, he has been invited to both the White House and to Facebook, Ahmed is not alone out there now, as it is clear to see, but there are millions of other Ahmeds out there that right at this minute will be feeling alone, maybe even ashamed of their talents because of being misunderstood. I am so happy to see the response that Ahmed has received, and I am sure that he will actually do good out of all of this mess, I hope that this opens up public awareness for the world to understand that we need to be supporting these kids, as one day, and you can quote me on this, you will be asking for their help, time to wake up!
For more info check out the related link to the Dallas News article and please watch the video on this page to try and get an understanding of what Ahmed went through that day, and what many others go through every day because people choose to ignore their own future.
@IStandWithAhmed from myself and TechBubble.