Beware machines taking over, Beatrice warns Lloyds of London judges

Beatrice Green, 15, gives speech on driverless cars wirth warning to judges at Lloyds of London

Beatrice Green, 15, gives speech on driverless cars wirth warning to judges at Lloyds of London - Credit: TH Ed+Business Partnership

This year’s winner of the Tower Hamlets Public Speaking competition for east London schools warned her audience about “machines taking over” in future.

Beatrice Green’s speech to an audience of professionals in the City of London on autonomous vehicles was about benefits that driverless cars could bring in reducing risk of road accidents and giving freedom to the elderly and disabled.

But the 15-year-old from St Paul’s Way Trust secondary in Bow Common warned: “Handing over our lives to machines perhaps removes what makes us human.”

She is the 20th winner of the annual contest organised by Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership, held at Lloyd’s insurance in the City. The contest attracted 250 students from 12 secondary schools.

Among the judges was the 2006 winner, Rabby Fozlay, who studied law at Oxford after leaving Whitechapel’s Swanlea School and went on to became a Denning Scholar at Lincoln’s Inn where he is applying for pupillage next month to become a barrister.

He said: “Winning this competition, the experience of taking part and the confidence it gave me helped my career.”

He told this year’s finalists about applying for a post as a legal assistant, finding himself up against smartly-dressed Oxford applicants and feeling he had no chance.

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Then the interviewers asked if anyone had done any public speaking. He told them about winning the contest and got the place.

This year’s runner up was Nazia Islam from Bethnal Green’s Oaklands Secondary and third was Anika Noor from George Green’s Secondary on the Isle of Dogs, while Mahjabin Rahman from Poplar’s Langdon Park got the award for “most progress” between the first workshops and the competition final.