Saturday, October 13, 2012

Children of the Future

What will a child in the year 2040 be like?

A question that can have several controversial answers.

Here is my take.

The world is becoming smarter by the day. People in the developing countries, as well as the developed countries, are focussing on higher education, beginning to learn things fast, becoming taller, sharper, stronger (No reference to Complan here), and hence are continuously evolving.

We can see the evidence all around us, we see new entrepreneurs coming up regularly. They might not be as famous as a Bill Gates, or a Steve Jobs, but are doing quite well in their own way. We see Olympic records being shattered every four years. We see soccer players becoming faster and more skilled than perhaps their predecessors. We see scores people get on competitive exams go higher.

Now all these facts point to one direction. The future is getting more and more competitive, and definitely more cut throat. So the child of 2040 HAS to be smarter and faster in order to survive.

I am a firm believer in the fact that humans, like animals, have to adapt to survive. Going by the same logic, the child of 2040 will already have adapted to the changing world, thanks to its parents.

But my intention is not to look at it from an optimistic angle. I want to try and think, what could end up on the flip side.

One of the first things that comes to mind is the fact that the child of 2040 will be detached from human interactions and emotions that accompany human interaction. It will not be able to comprehend what it feels to have friends. Reason being, all forms of communication will eliminate physical presence, and will be on a strictly need-basis. Evidences which point to that are the hugely successful platforms called facebook, WhatsApp, Google Talk, and Skype. To the child of the future will be born with certain traits and genes which will instinctively draw it towards these networking platforms. The risks of this are several, and one of the first things that come to mind in such a case is unsuccessful copulation. 30 years down the line, the earth will be full of people. At the current rates of growth of India and China, these two countries alone will account for more than 50% of the estimated population of over 10 billion. Now, we are taught about the sigmoidal graphs in school, what I think is going to happen, is that the earth can only take so much, so it will stabilize, and then either head for a double logistic kind of a pattern, or will wind up as a negative exponential function which might lead to bigger problems.

Secondly, the child of the future will completely phase out any kinds of physical activity, thanks to the advent of virtual presence. Schooling will be done from home. Gaming will be a source for the mind to relax and feel free. Work will be completed from home. So basically the surroundings will get narrowed down. So much that privacy and personal space will become of paramount importance as opposed to the shared spaces we have today. If you look at ten years back, a child, even if it had a room, gave complete access to its parents and family. But today, personal and private space is so important, that parents rarely muster up the courage to visit their offspring's room, i.e. personal space. This trend is here to stay, is what I feel, and is certainly going to get more and more stronger. Socializing skills of children will be at an all time low. A decline is human interactions will lead to other possible dire consequences, and we will witness a steep rise in cases of depression.

Thirdly, we will witness a tremendous rise in consumerism of expendable products, if current trends are anything to go by. Unlike yesteryears, where we used to see reuse of mineral water bottles, today we see that the amount of water bottles discarded has grown exponentially. I have a feeling, if someone has to invest in the future, one should invest in waste management practices. Because even if everything else in the world, such as gold prices, oil prices, futures, mutual funds, is unpredictable, we can be rest assured, that the amount of waste generated will always keep increasing and can be predicted with certain amount of surety. And there soon will be a time, when we no longer have space to dump waste. That is when effective use of waste will come into the picture, and governments will be willing to spend a lot of money on it. Coming back to the child of the future. It will take this a step forward and end up wasting and consuming more and more natural resources, which will witness a sharp decline.

Finally, the societies which are currently collectivist in nature will witness a shift to individualistic nature. The we will be replaced by the I. Team work will be replaced by individual work. Corporations around the world will not invest in one team, rather will invest in individuals and hence, man management will become more about coordination and  handling the super-ego and less about team management.

I agree what I may have written about might not at all be convincing, but I like to think about all the possible pros and cons. And in this case I wanted to think about the cons.

This topic can be discussed in greater depth and detail, bringing in more contexts, but for now, I'll stop here.

1 comment:

  1. With the advent of virtual reality, sports can be played with a game console (eg Xbox kinect which is already very popular).
    The right parenting can thus ensure physical exercise for the kids even in 2040.:)