Al Gore craves more engineers

Tech Culture

SAN JOSE, Calif.--Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore wants a new generation of engineers to see climate crisis as an opportunity.

At the Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley here on Tuesday, Al Gore addressed an audience of engineers, many employed by what he said was an impressive list of companies. The politician turned filmmaker and environmental advocate stressed the importance of engineers developing and designing embedded systems in order to use less energy.

Gore warmed up the audience by making them laugh and telling stories about his life as a former vice president, but he focused also on topics such as global warming and climate change. He asked the engineers what's happened to them, saying that other nations have become more advanced. He also noted that a large number of American engineers are retiring without up-and-coming replacements.

The former vice president also said he thinks engineers should see climate crisis as an opportunity to bring focus to a worthy goal.

"Skills in engineering are far more important than they have ever been," Gore said. The increasing population has augmented the impact on the world's ecosystem, and technology has transformed our relationship with the planet, he said. And despite the well-established consensus that carbon dioxide is considered the main climate threat, he added, society has adapted a short-term focus on it. "This is the real deal, and we have got to act," Gore said.

"Leading scientists say that we may have as little as 10 years to start changing this, or maybe it is too late," Gore said. He thinks that embedded systems and an increased level of intelligence can be the two most powerful solutions. "We have to find ways to break out of the inertia that keeps us locked into older technologies."

Instead of our children and grandchildren asking, "What were 'they' doing in 2007?", Gore wants them to ask, "How did 'they' find the ability to develop new embedded technology to change things?"

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