President Stevo Pendarovski addressed the audience on the occasion of the opening of the 51st European Conference of Young Engineers, hosted for the second time by the Club of Young Engineers at the Engineering Institution of Macedonia.
The Conference on “Connecting the Paths of Engineers” is being held from October 5 to 8 at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering Sciences and Information Technologies (FEIT), under the auspices of President Pendarovski.
The President of the Engineering Institution of Macedonia, Hristina Spasevska, the President of the Club of Young Engineers, Tina Manoleva, and the President of the European Young Engineers, Paul Jenkinson, also addressed the opening of the Conference.
It is my great honor and pleasure to greet you and welcome you to the Republic of North Macedonia. I am delighted that the Organization of European Young Engineers has accepted our virtual hospitality from 2020 to be complemented with a physical presence at this 51st European Conference of Young Engineers.
I thank the organizers, partners and sponsors, especially the Club of Young Engineers at the Engineering Institution of Macedonia, for enabling the young European creative community to discuss the future of the profession here in Skopje.
The slogan of this year’s conference is: “Connecting the Paths of Engineers”. These words contain the essence of your work, because engineering is the art of finding solutions to practical problems by what is figuratively called connecting the dots. Engineers, even in ancient times, were entrusted with the task of building roads that would connect cities, with the aim of developing those civilizations.
Basically, you still do that today. With the difference that the roads you make are not necessarily made of stone, concrete or asphalt, but are digital corridors of optical cables and wireless signals. In modern times, these are the key routes for transfer of data, knowledge, ideas and technologies on which the development of economies in the digital age depends.
Engineering paths are not always predictable and can thus lead to unexpected scientific, technical and technological breakthroughs. I will mention only two examples. In 1957, two designers constructed a device that was powered by solar energy and they jokingly called it the “do-nothing solar machine”. Today, solar energy is key to sustainable development and green transformation of economies. The Macedonian energy system is increasingly oriented towards utilizing the solar potential.
Second, less than a year ago few knew about ChatGPT. Today, AI models that generate content are our everyday life and are becoming indispensable in many sectors.
The unpredictable engineering paths are the result of the courage and creativity of engineers who dare to step out of the comfort zone of their narrow profession to combine ideas and concepts from different scientific disciplines. Inter-disciplinarity gave birth to social networks, robotics, 3D printing, renewable energy systems, bioengineering, smart cities, construction and engineering endeavors that exceed even the wildest imaginations of futurists.
But these paths are not completely harmless. Engineering innovation often trumps regulation and opens up space for a variety of abuses, from disinformation to cybercrime and cyberattacks. On one occasion, I said that the engineering equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath is the so-called Archimedean Oath, which implies responsible use of knowledge and skills for the common good, taking into account, among other things, the quality of people’s lives and environmental protection.
Among the many uncertainties that the fourth industrial revolution brings with it, one thing is certain – the engineering profession will play an even more important role in building a sustainable future. It will depend on you, more than anyone else, whether a country and an economy will prosper or stagnate, because you connect the dots of development and build the paths to the future. Therefore, it is our duty to strengthen the partnership between the state, science, the economy and the civil sector to enable quality engineering education.
We must invest in innovation ecosystems that attract investment, generate quality jobs and keep young people in the country. You, the young engineers, not only on paper, but also in real life, should be drivers of positive change.
Confident that this conference will contribute to connecting your engineering paths and opening new creative horizons, I wish you a nice stay and a successful conference.