TD Next Gen: Cassia Attard
Our theme for Elevate this year is Next Gen Now. At Elevate, we believe that the future of tech is happening now as ideas that once seemed impossible become reality. We will explore the implications of these rapid technological changes and how we can harness them to build a better world for ourselves and for generations to come.
This year, the TD Next Gen scholarship is providing 500 festival passes to some standout youth from The Knowledge Society. These young people are the next generation of leaders in tech and innovation and are showing the tech community that the future is bright.
One TKS student, Cassia Attard, is changing the game when it comes to solar power and brain mapping. Check out her story.
What first got you into tech?
I joined The Knowledge Society in November of this year and that got me really into the tech space. I was always interested in science but I didn’t know much about disruptive technologies until I joined TKS. For our generation, being “into tech” is not really an option. If you aren’t familiarized with the tech space, the future will be a very confusing place.
What excites you about the tech scene in Canada?
Toronto is somewhat of a low-key tech hub. Really interesting startups are not hard to find and new ones are always popping up. The startups range from SaaS companies to genomics to quantum computing. One startup that I’m really excited about is QD Solar, a quantum dot solar energy company coming out of UofT.
What is your passion project?
I am currently working to using quantum dots to improve the scalability of solar energy. Right now, cities are not adopting solar energy and a huge reason for that is because they don’t have the space for massive solar panels. Quantum dots can turn every window into a solar panel! If we can do this affordably and efficiently, the buildings themselves could very easily power a city.
Your latest tech discover:
I recently got into the field of connectomics, or brain mapping. I discovered that if you can map the neuronal connections in the brain using nanotechnology, it is possible to diagnose Alzheimer’s dementia in a much more reliable, data-driven way.
Your favourite app: Carrot Rewards. I get Scene points for walking!
Best or worst tech trend of all time:
The worst recent tech trend is “smart” home appliances. Why are so many intelligent people working on smart toasters, microwaves and fridges? A lot of people think that is what the AI space consists of. Also, Snapchat kind of sucks.
One young up-and-coming tech leader you want to elevate:
Gregory Levey and Joshua Landy, founders of Figure1. Figure1 is developing a platform that allows doctors to share patient images and information in a privacy and law-compliant way.
What are you most looking forward to at Elevate?
I am really excited about the Startup Open House and the 12 different Elevate Educate tracks. The diversity of different tracks and events at this conference is insane!
Your advice for the next generation of tech leaders:
Don’t underestimate where technology will bring society in the next 10 or 20 years. Think for the future and build and develop for what will be possible in 10 years.
Join us September 21-27, 2018 in Toronto to be a part of a diverse and inclusive community at the forefront of innovation. Buy your tickets here.