Robotics are the future. With Amazon launching its (admittedly creepy) artificial intelligence Echo device, named Alexa, and robots taking over the sex industry, it suddenly feels like we’re living in the future.
But not if it was down to America.
Last week the country, currently helmed by belagured blonde President Trump who has been pushing a “Muslim ban”, prevented young women inventors from Afghanistan from attending a global robotics conference in Washington.
The challenge is supposed to bring over 100 nations together to support students in becoming the next generation of scientific leaders who will work together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
What makes the situation worse is that the women had trekked 500 miles across the country from their native city of Herat twice, risking their lives to attend multiple visa interviews at the American Embassy in Kabul.
Afghanistan was attacked by the US and allied troops, including the UK, in 2001 – following the 9/11 Twin Tower bombings – in a move that eventually led on to the ill-fated Iraq war.
Roya Mahboob, Afghanistan’s first female tech CEO, brought the group of girls together for the project. “It’s a very important message for our people,” she told Forbes. “Robotics is very, very new in Afghanistan.”
She said when the girls first heard the bad news about their visas “they were crying all the day”.
Although Afghanistan isn’t on the current travel ban list released two days ago (instead the rules apply to Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen), there have been very few visas issued to citizens of the war-torn country this year.
Thankfully the girls’ robot will be making the journey to the US solo.
Find out more about FIRST Global Challenge below