Dear Nathan and Zach,
You’re heartily welcomed into Generation Alpha – Digital Natives born after 2010! Arriving in 2014 and 2015, you guys are definitely the newbies. The title “Screenagers” is truly appropriate to describe you - Nathan, you learned how to turn the iPad/iPhone on and watch YouTube at only 8 months old – we would have never imagined!
By the time you get this piece, you’ve probably got a robot doing the reading. My world today would appear slow and dull compared to yours. The world’s transforming so fast – just 10 years ago, we were still counting minutes when we made calls so we didn’t run out of credit. Today, we have unlimited access to data and can make video calls for free anywhere around the world. I know most of the changes will have positive implications on your lives as I believe the world is working towards becoming even better. Your generation will have unlimited and even more accessible education, unimaginable technologies, and will be hyperlinked with everyone and everything. I thought however, that you might be interested in knowing what made life so wonderful when the days were slightly less networked. I hope that somehow, my modest advice would bring even more richness to your already beautiful world. So here goes (there are terms that might sound alien to you so just use whatever you are using now to search for the meaning):
- Media-lomania. All media channels - from the internet, TV, radio, and e-newspaper - are interconnected and choose what to show you, depending on what it knows about your interests and needs. Everything will be hyperpersonalized with your DNA and cognitive analysis feeding into what content you’re being exposed to. Tip from the past: Grab a random book (made of actual paper), read it while laying down on the grass with the bird’s chirping in the background and smell the pages as you flip through. You might just learn that there are new topics you never thought you’d be interested in!
- Social Piping. Social apps (search the definition of this) must be all merged and interconnected with bioprocessors and GPSs giving you a 360 degree update about your friends. It must be great to know what they’re up to every second. Tip from the past: Maybe invite them over to your place – like physically? Clink your beer bottles, play poker and have some real fun – your devices can’t replace your friends and will not make you laugh as hard as they will.
- Networked Nanochips. The Virtual and Augmented Reality contact lens is obsolete now and you’ve probably had an information stream inserted somewhere in your brain. You can now access and see anything you ask for even faster than a blink of an eye. Tip from the past: There’s nothing like the real thing. Are you regularly monitoring the score of the Red Devils? Check out an actual match once in awhile! You can try to catch the ball when it goes off-field, you can high-five a fellow fan and chant along with the crowd when they score. The adrenaline running through your veins from watching it live... thrilling!
- Holographics. Those long conversations with your girlfriend (which by the way I have not yet been introduced to) are done via hologram technology and you see her in 3D anytime, anywhere. Tip from the past: Try seeing her in person more often and give her an actual kiss? That way you can comfort her by holding her hand and by giving her a tight hug. Physical human touch can work miracles.
- Bionic Entities. That robot reading you this letter must be the one doing the household chores which includes preparing your meals using the ingredients delivered by a drone. Tip from the past: Come on over and visit your father and me more often, I’ll make your favorite spaghetti way better than that robot ever will ;p
As you might have already noticed, one of the biggest worries I have about your world is the absence of human contact and in-person interaction – a paradox to being the most connected generation ever. When you read this, you will be older and will be able to decide on things on your own. When you make choices, don’t forget what really matters in life. To help you figure this tough one out, take a moment and ask yourself:
- What memories would you like to have for yourself and the people that matter to you?
- What kind of interactions will best build and form your character and values?
- What is it to really, truly love?
The only wish I have for you both, is a hope that I think every mother in history has for her children: to be happy and live life with little regret. I hope that this letter, in its own little way, will help realize that.
With all my love,
"I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." - Albert Einstein