Stories From the Future: Life with Gilo

“Zoey” Image credit: Zahara Chetty

Hi, I’m Zoey. Gilo is my DITA, a Dedicated Intelligent Tutoring Assistant. She’s also my closest friend and confidant. As my AI companion and life mentor, she knows everything about me and guides me through life so that I can make the right decisions. She has been by my side since I was born. I can’t imagine life without her. Everyone here has one. 

My parents told me about the days before DITAs – when they had schools. They said that they had to leave home every morning and sit in a building for up to eight hours at the same table and chair. These hours were for reading books and answering questions. That’s how they learned to live and make decisions. I don’t think it worked very well, because from what I can see, people made a lot of wrong decisions about life on this planet. Now, we have so many things to fix.

“Gilo” Image credit: Zahara Chetty

They only had a few subjects to learn from and each year, they had less subjects to choose from, not more! Imagine how boring! My father said he studied something called Accounting and my mother was in love with Biology. Nowadays dad has his own AI assistant for all his accounting work and mom still spends all her time in the garden. Neither of those things sounds very interesting the way they describe them to me. However, when Gilo and I learn new things about plants, animals and the world around us, it’s always so fascinating!

When dad told me he spent twelve years in these buildings doing the same kind of activities every single day, I almost fell off my chair. I felt so sorry for him. No wonder he’s lost his spark. Gilo says those were the good old days, when children listened and did whatever they were told. I say we have way more fun these days. I know she was trying to make a joke because she and I have so many adventures together. She would be lost without me!

These days Gilo is helping me shape how I want to add value to the world. Being a Biomimicry Engineer is the most amazing thing I could ever come up with. It’s all about unlocking the secrets of nature to create innovative solutions. I guess my deep appreciation for and fascination with nature comes from my mother. I want to help people live better – and help to undo the damage that other generations (like dad’s) have done to this beautiful planet. We have so many challenges to solve, but the world also has so much inspiration. We just have to look for them.

Gilo and I work on a lot of exciting projects. She helps me prototype a lot of creative ideas so that we don’t waste time building something that won’t be effective – well, mostly. A lot of our ideas actually don’t work. But, just last week we designed a new type of solar panel that is much more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. By studying the way that leaves photosynthesise, we came up with all kinds of novel designs. I hope we can come up with something that can one day power entire cities with clean, renewable energy. Right now, we are just exploring and designing.

“Spidersilk” Image credit: Zahara Chetty

We have also worked on coming up with high-performance materials inspired by the beauty, strength and durability of spider silk. Spiders are so beautiful and so strong. They are amazing! We’ve been able to simulate the creation of fibers that are stronger than steel and more flexible than rubber. With these materials, we can build everything from bridges to buildings and even vehicles. Imagine that!

My work with Gilo isn’t designed to be limited to research and development, or just prototypes. Soon, we will make something real that people can use. I can’t wait to share this with everyone and inspire the next generation of biomimicry innovators! This is not something I could ever be bored of because there is still so much beauty and wonder left in this world to explore and appreciate.

Stories From the Future: Life with Gilo

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