SMU is hosting a FIRST Robotics Competition 2018 Kickoff event 6 January 2018. I’m going to say a few words, approximately as they are written, below.

I’ll begin by addressing the question you all, no doubt, are expecting me to address in the next two minutes at this ungodly hour: how do we fix the world?

Of course, I cannot answer this question, today, but I want to suggest a contribution to an answer because I have the microphone: woke techies. I actually don’t like the word woke (I prefer oriented toward the Good), but, as a person with hipster tendencies, I must use it—to tell you why I’m here at Saint Martin’s trying to help fix the world.

So we’re probably all techish, here, but let me make an abbreviated argument for the importance of technology in shaping the world. Increasingly since the dawn of the Industrial Age, power flows through technology. Wealth, infrastructure, weapons, medicine, narrative—all have become technological. Wars and minds are won through technology.

So we nerds have the power, potentially. But, I’m sorry to say, we have not wielded it; rather, we have been wielded by others. Sometimes for the Good, sometimes not.

Which brings me to what we’re doing here, today, and why I’m here at Saint Martin’s. We’re laying roots from which we can grow to become technologists through this wonderful competition. But we need a space to develop, not only in technological prowess, but also personally—that is, get woke. That’s why I’m here at Saint Martin’s. I’m contributing to a community for the development of people toward the Good, especially those interested in reshaping our tech-enabled world.

If this resonates at all, I’ll leave you with this question: what practices can you begin, today, that will grow you into a technologist and that will get you woke?

I mean, beyond coffee, of course.