Technology has transformed many aspects of society in a short period of time – take the invention of the internet, which only became widely used in the late 1990s, and smartphones and tablets, which took off in the late 2000s.
In other ways, some of the technologies predicted to be used in the 2020s are yet to appear, like flying cars and personal robots.
This year’s UNSW Bragg Writing Prize asked 13-18 year olds to write an 800 word essay on the wonder of technology, specifically ‘Technology and Tomorrow’.
“Technology and Tomorrow’ could mean anything, and the students’ submissions weren’t short of creative interpretations. Entries discussed everything from smart clothing, to video assistant referee technology used in soccer games.
The winning entries demonstrated a knack for both scientific accuracy and a strong command of written language. Read on below to discover the winners of the UNSW Bragg Writing Prize for 2018.
1st place: Preethika Mathan, Santa Sabina College
“I live among you but I am nothing like you. My independence is dependent … I am one of the four million people who have special needs. I live in a free country, without freedom. But all is not lost. Technology has shown its potential to revolutionise my life and reshape my tomorrow.”
Santa Sabina College student Preethika Mathan explores the pricey problem with assistive technology. People with disability aren’t empowered by modern technology; life-changing, purpose-built tech isn’t readily available and comes at a steep cost. Preethika argues that with the right funding and distribution, accessible tech could become more accessible than ever before.
Runner up: Sienna Ters, Santa Sabina College
“Not so long ago, if you were seated across from your doctor and heard them utter the word ‘cancer’, it would have felt like a death sentence. But now, instead of asking ‘How long have I got to live?’, you are more likely to ask ‘What are we going to do about it?’”
This essay from Sienna Ters of Santa Sabina College examines the medical marvel that is medical resonance imaging (MRI). Instead of becoming obsolete, this 40 year old discovery is going from strength to strength by helping to diagnose and treat deadly diseases like cancer.
Runner up: Coco Dwyer & Ruby Mumford, Star of the Sea College
“Through the exciting world of biohacking and the seemingly inevitable future that is transhumanism, science is reaching new heights. And as this technology embeds itself into our everyday lives and inside our physical bodies, we may be prompted to ask: how long until we are more computer than human?”
Coco Dwyer and Ruby Mumford of Star of the Sea College in Brighton give us a glimpse into the future of cyborgs and transhumanism – a future that is already here. Neil Harbisson is the world’s first human cyborg, having had an antenna attached to his skull to help alleviate a severe form of colour blindness. This essay begs the question, is the future of humans more machine than man?