Entrepreneur looking to redesign Jamaica
On the heels of Jamaica's diamond jubilee celebrations, Paul Thompson is redesigning the island through artificial intelligence.
Thompson, 39, describes himself as a creative technologist. He has been sharing illustrations of prospective uniforms for some of this island nation's public and private sector workers via his Twitter account.
"I started this year thinking of a conversation I had with a good friend of mine a few years back. We were thinking about Jamaica, looking forward, and we were saying if we were to redesign Jamaica, what would it look like? What would the Republic of Jamaica look like?" he said with a laugh.
All sporting the national colours of black, green and gold, Thompson's renderings carry an aura of Afro-futurism. They include uniforms for students, bus and taxi operators, nurses, police officers, magistrates, soldiers and a host of other civil servants. Thompson said that through his company, Hello Scribe, he developed the software that came up with the drawings.
He explained, "I am not a designer. So I wouldn't want to pretend to be something that people in Jamaica or many illustrious people would have spent years of their life doing and be pretending to be them. I do, however, have access to, and have developed technology that allows me to be able to generate art and designs using artificial intelligence. So what you're seeing there is a product of some of those experiments." According to Thompson, the illustrations are his contribution to a larger conversation.
"After 60 years, our Supreme Court justices still wear wigs. Our public officials, our policemen still dress like the colonial constabulary. So if we're reimagining a Jamaica of the future, we have to think about what this new thing look like," he said. "The real purpose behind even posting these things online is really to stimulate a discussion about our country at large and where we're going, and start to help people engage their imaginations in what is possible and how that simple gesture like a change of uniform might translate into other areas of the society."
He added, "If the Supreme Court judges look that way then how do our buildings look? How does our public transportation look? How do we take care of low income sustainable housing? How does even the passport application form that you fill out, how is that designed? How is the bureaucratic processes right throughout our government designed? And then you start to really think about how you really design a nation that works for everybody."
The St Elizabeth native told THE STAR that while only a small piece of the puzzle, creating spaces for people to display their national pride on a daily basis could have a far reaching positive impact on the society.
"Jamaica is trending everywhere except in Jamaica. I feel like there is an opportunity for us to make Jamaica trend in Jamaica every day. There's a role for everybody to play in doing that. And the uniforms might just be one small part of that, but you feel like seh if we're able to feel good about ourselves on a daily basis, then that feeling will translate into other good things in the society at large," he said.