One of the beautiful benefit of open source is the empowerment it gives to its users to be able to innovate and provide solutions to tech problems. This can be through the availability of free tools and platforms to operate.
Among the different people around the world pushing the boundary of innovation through the use of open source tools is Robbie Barrat, a high school teenager in the united states.
Barrat , 17 years old, is a West Virginia high school kid programmer that is interested in python programming – especially as it relates to artificial intelligence (AI). In fact it was reported that Barrat took a week to built a rapping AI based on Kanye West’s lyrics as a result of a bet at his high school’s programming club. He had to do this using his Linux powered laptop and other open source tools and softwares like pybrain (a machine learning python library) to build his AI’s neural networks. After enough tinkering with the code he was able to successfully implement an AI that could synthesize rap speeches.
Barrat is among those who taught themselves programming (coding) by reading – open source textbooks, blogs and videos.
Barrat even have a github account that contain some of his programming projects. Although the AI project was his first major – or large-scale – project but his programming knowledge has also been put into practice as seen from his github page.
This goes a long way to serve as a testament to African, and by extension Nigerian, leaders about the power of technology in the hands of youths. When teenagers are empowered with the right technology (and I very much believe a large chunk of which would be free open-source software/hardware), they would go a long way to solve tech problems bedeviling the country and continent. And it would help in taking them out of the streets and reduce youth restiveness.