The Future Might be Different

Vickie Collins By Vickie Collins, 27th Jan 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Culture

Is it possible our society and in fact, our species is evolving into something a bit different than we have been? I think it is, and much can be determined by looking at our youth and their abilities as compared to our own.

My age group

I am 61 years old and all of my life I have read books. I also watch televisions and movies, but computers are relatively new for me. Yes, I was about 35 or 40 years old before I even had a personal computer. Oh, I take that back, I had one when I was 30, but it wasn't anything other than a word processor.

But in the last 20 plus years, I have had a home computer and have had websites and blogs and read email. All the things that most of us now find ourselves having to have in order to function in society.

However, using computers and the internet still does not come second nature to me. I don't know, at an almost instinctive level, how to navigate and do new things. Each gain in knowledge is relatively hard learned and has to be carved out bit by tiny bit.

I think this is true of most people my age, if they will admit. Oh sure there are some that just take to computers and internet and go full tilt. They know html, not from the point of copying it, and changing a few components to achieve a different look, but form the "type it out directly" mode. Some are even knowledgable about java and other systems. Not me, and not many of my age group.

The Young

By young, I mean before elementary even. What is their experience with the computer like? How many grandparents do you know that say "my grandchild just goes to the computer and stays typing on it, no hesitation"?

It seems to many of us oldsters that that is what happens. That somehow our young are being born almost knowing how to do computer work. No education required.

The 100th Monkey

This is a story that I have heard numerous times illustrating various points but the story goes like this.

There was an island with a bunch of monkeys and a coconut tree. These coconuts were very hard and had to be dropped against a rock at a certain angle. Somebody taught a monkey how to do this. And that monkey taught another monkey and forth. Well, at some point it reached a critical mass, and 100 monkeys or so knew how to do it. Suddenly something shifted and every monkey knew how to do that task, without having to be taught.

Now, I am not saying that human beings are going to be born at some point, knowing how to operate the computer without being trained. I doubt very much that is going to happen. I do think, however, that children are going to be a lot easier to teach the computer in the near future. At least as easily as most children are taught to read books, if not more so.

So what?

I think there is something for some of us of the "old school" to think about in all this. Some of us complain because computers and electronic devices are taking people away from books. We think that books are precious and should be held on to at all cost. Our wisdom, we say, is in the books.

But perhaps, in future generations, the wisdom will be in the computer and the ipad and the other electronic devices. Even thought I have a fetish for paper and books, I do not believe that there is anything intrinsically better about information stored on paper as opposed to on a computer data base.

Perhaps instead of fighting the electronic revolution, we need to look and work to making sure there are safeguards. We have concerns, legitimate I think, about what would happen if the electronic database was unavailable. Perhaps instead of fighting that database and trying to hang on to paper instead, it might behoove us to focus our attention on trying to prevent such databases being unavailable. In other words, make sure that we have alternative methods of keeping that database alive and well in case of some sort of breakdown of any particular source of energy.

Sure, many of us are going to yield for the old days when we read books by flickering electrical light, but is it really so intrinically wrong for folks to read by the light of the electronic device that the information is being shown on?

Tags

Aptitude, Education, Future, Teaching

Meet the author

author avatar Vickie Collins
I am a gay crossdresser who writes under my non-de-plume. I have a variety of interests, science fiction, religion, psychology. I recently moved from Nashville Tn to New Orleans.

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Comments

author avatar Harris Mungai
28th Jan 2015 (#)

Nice article Vickie.
It's very true that with the current advancements in technology, our children are becoming smarter and well informed.

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author avatar Carol Roach
29th Jan 2015 (#)

good points, that story about the monkey is given in psychology class, nobody showed the monkey, but the other monkeys learned by watching the first monkey. This is how humans learn to we learn from our environment. The environment for the young is computers, our generation was the typwriter.

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author avatar Grant Peterson
31st Jan 2015 (#)

We, each and every one of us, has the opportunity to make the future different, it starts by rejecting the wrong of the pasty and trying something new.

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author avatar Vickie Collins
28th Feb 2015 (#)

Thanks all of you who have commented, each of you have added a point, or noticed something important from your view. Good going.

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