A Technological Generation
When I’m 80, will I google, digg, and twitter? Will I stay up to date on technological trends?
I had an interesting conversation with friend earlier this week. We were discussing the effects of technology on culture; namely, how different generations react to technology. I mentioned how difficult it was for previous generations to understand new technology, and wondered if the same would be true for us.
I asked the question, “50 years from now, do you think we will be as confused by the latest technological trends? Do you think our children will be explaining things to us?”
Generations learn at an exponential rate. Did you know that the Boy Scouts of America have a merit badge in Composite Materials? This really makes you rethink the phrase, “It’s not rocket science.” If rocket science is simple enough for a merit badge, perhaps it’s time we rethink this analogy…
I decided to ask around. I found that there are actually two or three schools of thought on the subject.
The first is simple (and boring). Yes. Children will always be explaining new technology. That’s just how the world works.
The second is that our generation is different than previous generations in that we grew up around rapid changing technology. The need to embrace and learn new technologies is engraved in our culture. According to this line of thought, we are always learning, and will always be able to stay up on technology trends. That is just how we were “programmed”.
The third, and more interesting line of thought in my opinion, takes a different spin. I found that a few of my friends believe that future generations will be explaining things to the elderly, but it won’t necessarily be new technology. They believe that while technology might become common knowledge, other skill sets such as language and the arts will become more refined in future generations. For example, I have many friends that believe our children will grow up speaking 2 or 3 languages.
So instead of my kids saying, “Dad, it’s just an MP3 player”, they will be saying, “Dad, it’s just German.”
What are your thoughts?
*I am sorry to say that I do not speak German. I am conversational in Spanish and was close to fluent in Japanese once upon a time (JLPT Level 2). If anyone would like to help me learn a new language or refine the skills I have, please twitter @shawnwelch or email email@example.com.