Inspiring young Black British students

EDI initiatives at UCL are wide-ranging and thriving. On 1 June the Department of Computer Science hosted an on-campus day with a group of Year 12 students from Thinking Black, an organisation whose mission aims to 'engage, equip and empower a new generation of young Black voices'.

The students attended workshops led by several CS research groups during the morning and spent the afternoon at 169 Euston Road, visiting our lab. UCLIC Director, Professor Yvonne Rogers, welcomed the group and opened the meeting with a thought-provoking presentation on how user experience and engaging design are both critical components of any digital product, from virtual reality (VR) software to chatbots, smartphone apps and more.

The students then engaged in a number of interactive demos led by postdoc researchers and PhD students, including a thermal textile visualiser, digital smell training, chatbot and textile feeling recognition, a voicebot prototype and a VR demo, among others.

It was such a positive and fulfilling experience to see the students participate in the various activities and conversations, asking original questions and contributing insightful comments, especially in the context of the current debate about the dangers of AI technologies.