On February 20, ISET students delivered yet another policy seminar. The seminar was opened by Eric Livny, the president of ISET, who delivered an inspirational speech regarding the jobs of the future. He posed the question, “In this rapidly changing world, what do we need to teach schoolchildren today so that their skills and knowledge are still relevant ten or twenty years from now?”. This could be considered something of a million-dollar question, since in the next few decades, artificial intelligence seems likely to push humans out of the job market; if the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century created such a massive urban working class, the new technology revolution will create a massive class of useless people. Mr Livny also talked about the issue of degree inflation, and the disoriented universities that contribute to unemployment all over the world with meaningless degrees. As formal certification gradually loses its power, Mr Livny's suggestion was to create an online skills platform where those who offer their services are assessed by the number of stars.
On February 17, interested ISET faculty, staff and students visited the Ministry of Defence's research and development centre, Delta, at the invitation of Ilia Zhorzholiani, an ISET alumnus working as the facility's Chief Auditor. The visitors were shown many of Delta's products (which were of particular interest to ISET personnel with prior military experience), including sniper systems, mortars, weapon optics and light armoured vehicles. While most of Delta's foreign export deals remain classified, Delta staff were able to reveal the recent signing of a recent agreement with Saudi Arabia worth 40 million USD for an unspecified number of its 'Didgori' armoured vehicles.
ISET takes pride in its diverse international community, and uses every chance to celebrate it. The international tea party hosted in the cafeteria was an excellent illustration of this tradition. On February 6, ISET students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Japan and Iran took over ISET's cafeteria to host the community with tasty delights of their home countries.
The event organizers took the lead and did their best to surprise their guests with the limited resources available to them. One could try traditional Azeri tea made from herbs (mainly with cloves and cardamom), unexpectedly delicious Armenian tea with thyme and mint brought specially for the event from the Armenian mountains and, Japanese tea with a taste as mysterious as Japan itself (at least, from a Georgian perspective) all in one place!