Rene – Hi! Welcome back to season six of QuBites, your bite-sized pieces of quantum computing. My name is Rene from Valorem Reply and today we're going to talk about Quantum Computing community education and from this I'm very honored to have a special expert guest today, Anisha Musti. Hi Anisha and welcome to the show, how are you today?
Anisha - Hi Rene, Thank you! I'm so excited to be here today and I am doing phenomenal, how are you?
Rene - I'm also really good and thankful that you can join us today because you already had a busy day before!
Anisha – Yeah, I just came home from school.
Rene - Right and so thanks again for agreeing to do this right off the school! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
Anisha - Of course! So, I'm 17 years old, a 17-year-old Quantum researcher. I am also the founder of an organization called Q-munity, which I'm very excited to talk about today. It's an organization that's dedicated to teaching young people about Quantum Computing specifically because as a 14-year-old joining Quantum myself I realized there aren't that many resources or communities tailored to that demographic of individuals trying to enter the field and I strive to build for everyone else what I didn't have growing up.
Rene - this is an awesome motivation and that actually leads me to my first question like you said you're 17 years old right and folks did you hear that? She started with 14. What did you guys do and girls do at 14 right? I definitely didn't look into Quantum I can tell you but again super impressive! Very much impressive and you started in the field with 14 years like you said and which is again mind-blowing. Tell us a little bit about how you actually got interested in the quantum Computing being 14 years old and how your journey was actually?
Anisha - Yeah, I mean, the word Quantum, I've always been a giant Marvel fanatic, so the word Quantum just keeps coming up. Like I literally just watched the most recent Black Panther movie and I think she mentions building a functional quantum computer to solve a problem and I was like if only we could have a functional quantum computer like that's funny! Anyway so, I've just been hearing the word and I always associated it with science sci-fi, very cool stuff but it was only when I was 14 years old that I got a YouTube video that this is a real thing. Quantum Computing is actually real! Scientists are actually working on it and it is something that genuinely holds the potential to shape our future, so that was very exciting for me. I was super into it and I followed it up by attending some conferences local, nearby. I live in New York, so it's pretty easy to find them and it was really just the community that drew me in. Quantum has such a unique like group of individuals who are so captivated by the technology they work in and are so passionate about bringing it to others and I felt that, tangible energy just by attending a couple of events and I knew that this was a field that I just wanted to get involved in.
Rene – Awesome! Like you said it's quite diverse and you know like we're recording here season six of QuBites, so I already had five seasons which means like 50 episodes and almost as many guests actually and we had a lot of diverse roles and it's really interesting, there's a lot of folks who think- hey, you need to have a PhD in quantum physics or something like this! Which is not the case, there are so many other roles, right? I mean it's an industry, so it needs everything. We need Quantum marketing folks, we need Quantum Workforce folks, we need obviously the quantum physicists themselves, but there's a place for everyone and you're actually helping with education in that space already, like you mentioned and which is very important I think, because right now a lot of the approaches go through Academia. Mostly, I mean there's some private education services available. But anyhow, let's talk about what you're doing. I saw on your website, you're writing Quantum Computing articles, building products and like you said your accelerating Quantum Computing learning with Q-munity. Great name, by the way! Can you tell us more about the mission and what you're doing there?
Anish – Yeah! So, Q-munity is ultimately driven by the mission of bringing Quantum Computing to everyone, everywhere, and making it accessible in a way for people who may not have access to that higher education or academic path that the majority of people in Quantum typically follow. And we do this in a couple of ways primarily through our courses which are geared towards a no pre-requisites audience. So people of any walk of life, any age any background should be able to take the course and gain a pretty solid understanding of what quantum is. This is not necessarily to replace the academic path but almost to provide an earlier platform to before people get into it because we realized that one of the biggest issues that Quantum faces that it isn't introduced to people until so much later in their academic path that it doesn't really become a viable career option. It's almost like something they learn but never even realize it can become something they can pursue full-time and that's what we're striving to do and simultaneously we do also have a huge emphasis on community building because that is what really keeps people in the field and guides them along learning this pretty difficult technology and field to get into. So we host events, we do workshops, hackathons stuff like that.
Rene - This is pretty amazing. How can folks get started with reaching out to Q-munity or getting involved.
Anisha - Yeah, I mean you can go on the website www.qmunity.tech and you can take a course. They're all free because obviously, we think that the freer it is, the easier it is for anyone to access.
Rene - That's very generous and very good, I mean like you're saying we're here to learn, we're here to share and that's I think this is the right mindset actually, learning to share actually and then you learn it really well. Any events that are upcoming you would like to mention or any past events that you would like to highlight any anything?
Anisha – Yeah, I mean, we are planning a few in the work. So, stay tuned for that. If you subscribe to our newsletter or just check our website they will be posted there shortly some of our favorite events from past years. We did a conference where we got a bunch of really phenomenal Quantum speakers to come, share different parts of what they do, so this all right, our goal is really to highlight as we were talking about before just the different roles that are available in Quantum you don't need to be a researcher. Well that is what a lot of people are and even if you are there's so many different subsects of what you can do. You can do quantum biology but you can also do quantum machine learning and you can also do quantum chemistry. So you can do it, you can pretty much do it all and we highlighted that. We have workshops all the time about special people that we think have interesting stories to share and bringing them in and having them share those. We've done hackathons which A allows people to connect with others in a similar demographic as them but B allows them to begin building with others who also may not have the same level of experience as maybe some more premier prestigious hackathons maybe.
Rene – Yep, so very nice, approachable and inclusive and provides you all the goodies as well. But that's not all, right? Like, what are some of your other projects you're working on?
Anisha – Yeah, I mean I have been kind of just using my high school experience to explore as many different areas as possible. For me, what I think I gain the most joy out of is impact and being able to actually or impact the lives of ordinary people like myself. One of the other projects that I'm super passionate about is, I built an app Moana that targets the child mortality crisis in Nigeria. It was an alarming issue when I first discovered it that nearly one in eight Nigerian children die before the age of five and this is from entirely preventable causes like pneumonia and diarrhoea. Things that are non-issues in the United States where I live and in most other countries around the world but for them without access to adequate health care or access to vaccines or immunizations this becomes a very pressing issue and what I realize is that breastfeeding is one of the most effective interventions for it because the antibodies in a mother's milk transfers to her child through the feeding and that we can leverage that to provide a substitute to vaccinations and lack of healthcare infrastructure. So I built an AI app that basically acts as a virtual lactation counselor guiding mothers through the breast feeding process where they may not have the healthcare infrastructure to do so. So we launched that in Nigeria and it is currently rolling out in Kenya and yeah I think that that type of thing helping people whether it's through community or Moana really is what brings me joy.
Rene - All right, that is so inspiring and so impressive really. I mean, you look at the problem and then you're building something you know with AI for good in the end like you know the theme is AI for good here and so, wow this is, I don't know, I'm out of words. This is so impressive and really good that you're helping emerging markets for these pressing issues and so good, impressive.
Anisha – I believe like so much of the technology that we have today is just not spread equitably and this is something that I care deeply about. It is pretty much what Q-munity is founded on as well is this idea that we have Silicon Valley where I live and we're making ground-breaking Innovations every single day and we're living almost like in a futuristic society ourselves but not enough emphasis is put on making those designs universally accessible whether it's through the actual design itself is it actually of usable by people of all social backgrounds to how is it distributed and personally I just believe we need to emphasize that enough and more.
Rene – Absolutely, like I couldn't agree more and yeah there's some so much bad things happening out there and there's like tech especially is going to help quite a bit. Quantum like you know once we have powerful enough quantum computers we can run climate simulation, drug discovery or you know like you like you were saying already quantum chemistry and so on. There's so much potential. Fertilizer development like so much, you know, things that will help humanity to progress and because you know we have a lot of challenges ahead of us and I think like you're saying exactly like we can use tech to actually improve it, to solve it and also like you were saying you can actually use it for good cause because when you talk with a lot of folks, when you hear AI, oh there's so much progress like oh no the machines are going to kill us yes so messed up from all the Sci-Fi stuff sometimes you know where there's always showing like the bad things but in fact what we're seeing today is AI models that are better in with computer vision that are better than actually human experts for detecting skin cancer for example or a certain other you know kind of cancers like also breast cancer and soon automatically scanning these images and you actually don't need the human expert. Of course you still need them for certain things but this tech is also not going to kill the job of the human expert. It's actually just providing scalability and you know enables the equality and treatment to everyone in the world and this is really awesome.
Anisha - I mean yeah with any technology there, of course, are drawbacks and there's an importance to emphasize like the social and ethical implications of it but when we're looking at something like AI one of the most common fears that I hear is like oh it replaces jobs like it's changing and fundamentally it's important to notice that we've had revolutions in history like we've had the agricultural revolution where people stopped using manual labor and switched to the mechanization of agriculture which in turn, yes of course, it ruins some farm manual labor jobs but those people then were able to make more money by creating more food and then were able to go and get skilled labor jobs. It's just the evolution of society like as some jobs become obsolete other jobs are created and it, of course, does suck when we're looking at it short term but it is it is natural it was what happened with the Internet, it's what happened with the Industrial Revolution and we're currently in the AI revolution and hopefully next will be in the quantum revolution and we just have to accept up these things and make the most of it while we can!
Rene – Awesome! Well Anisha, we're already at the end of the show but this was so inspiring and I would say a really good kick-off of season six episode one here with you, super inspiring and very motivational. Thank you so much Anisha for joining us today and sharing your insights and all the fantastic projects you're working on.
Anisha - Thank you so much for having me and I’m honored to be the first episode of season six I know it's going to be a phenomenal season. So if you're watching this, make sure to stay on for the rest of it.
Rene -Awesome, well thanks for giving a little advertisement here, and thanks everyone for joining us for yet another episode of QuBites, your bite-sized pieces of quantum computing. Watch our blog, follow our social media channels to hear all about the next episodes and of course subscribe to our YouTube and you can always visit and re-watch every other episode from season one to season six now on our website. Take care and see you soon, bye bye!