Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The fast pace of technology

Some days technology can just be overwhelming and I feel that I am falling further and further behind. I have more and more empathy for my elderly parents when they want to keep their yellowing desk telephone, don't want a computer, don't use an answering machine, don't want to switch TV service because they won't know how to operate a new system - even a new car and all the fancy new devices can be daunting.

So it is not a surprise to read that researchers theorize the ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be creating a series of mini-generation gaps. People two, three or four years apart will have completely different experiences with technology. The mini-generation gaps are most visible in the communication and entertainment choices made by different age groups. According to a Pew survey, teenagers are more likely to send instant messages than slightly older 20-somethings and to play online games. Now we have the Net Generation born in the 1980s and the iGeneration born in the 90's and this decade. In their 20's the Net Generation spends two hours a day talking on the phone and still use e-mail frequently. The iGeneration spends more time texting than talking on the phone and communicates more over instant e-messenger networks.

The newest generation, unlike their older peers, will expect an instant response from everyone they communicate with and won't have the patience for anything less. Children who play on-line games with virtual worlds will see less distinction between online friends and real friends. Young children will be artful multitaskers being able to perform seven tasks at once while people in their early 20's can only handle six. Will they be able to focus and concentrate when they need to, however, is a question. This generation will also have more relaxed notions about privacy as they will own devices that persistently know where they are. These kids will never be "off the grid" They'll think nothing of sharing their lives online, staying connected to their friends at all times, buying virtual goods, and owning one device that does it all.

I hope that youngest generation will help the rest of us out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What you describe in your last paragraph reminds me of the book 1984...