As will.i.am continues his efforts to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education to set young people on a better path, he urges people to have a broader mindset when thinking about the future.
At the annual meeting for former U.S. president Bill Clinton's Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which assembles the world's most powerful leaders to address the globe's most critical issues, the rapper
and entrepreneur advised the public to think more about how the distant future can be affected by the present and near future.
"Twenty years from now, I want to see an eight-year-old when they're 28 compete with an eight-year-old that going to be 28 twenty years from now from Bangalore, India," he said passionately. "We really need to think that far...Yes, this presidential election is important, but it's only four years. What's happening twenty years from now? What is a twenty-year plan? I want to know that plan."
The 37-year-old who grew up in Boyle Heights
in East Los Angeles has been utilizing his star power as a basis to draw attention and financial backing to philanthropic causes. One of those causes that hits home for will.i.am is reviving his old neighborhood through STEM.
"As the world is moving to a world that depends on technology, none of these kids are geared-up to even understand the world in 2030," he said. "I want to take the leverage and the power that I have...to bring opportunity and to bring change in inner-cities."
One such initiative that will.i.am took was a recent partnership with NASA to raise awareness for STEAM (STEM + arts) by beaming his new single
back from the Curiosity rover on Mars.
Even with his star power shedding light on pertinent societal issues, will.i.am noted how difficult it can be to attract attention to something positive when the majority of people are more likely to respond to something negative.
"We beamed the song back from Mars. It got some views on YouTube, but I got more coverage on the car accident that...I was in with Cheryl Cole," he highlighted. "It just goes to show how we all are a part of...what it is we find interesting."