Learning Useful Things

19 07 2011

Technology moves so quickly. I regularly have to instruct my parents, and at times older colleagues, on how to use various types of technology. One day, I will be a dottering old guy who has to be taught the newer technologies by younger people, likely of the whippersnapper variety. Is this a new phenomenon? Isn’t the traditional flow of information from older people to younger people? Even as technology progressed–saw, with power tools or plumbing or car maintenance or what not–among non-specialists (i.e., the typical consumer or member of society) don’t elders typically communicate skills to the youth, or “utes” if you will? This may just be times-they-are-a-changing, forest-for-trees ruminating. I’m not asserting a general trend, although someone alert Thomas Friedman and give him some rich people to interview, maybe he could write a book about it.

Obviously adults consume new technologies and learn them, so maybe we’re just stuck at this transition period where the technologies began to change at an exponential speed, so the generations ahead of us had no chance of catching up. But maybe it’s not a unique historical moment, and we’re in for frustrating conversations with our kids who get impatient with us as we try to sync our ecto-reader to the nano-cloud to get our, you know, elf gold or whatever. Wait that last one was the wrong genre. Anyway, you get the idea. Young people–the hoodlums–learn this stuff from one another, and from the manufacturers or developers directly. The hive mind and what not. And as the “target demographic” they are always going to be the first adopters, rolling their eyes when we ask about how our iRub interfaces with our moon camel. The point is, I don’t want to be at the mercy of a bunch of roughnecks what with their sunglasses and pants. Get off my space lawn, is what I’m trying to say. Grumble.




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