Robot housekeepers and commercial space travel: Gen Z predict the future
“Everything! It’s Everything I do in my life!” chirped one effusive pre-teen. “It’s the future and it will do almost everything that humans will do and more,” gushed another. “Without it, I would spiral into depression. It keeps me entertained,” compounded a third.
Above is a selection of quotes culled from new research conducted by our friends at Dell Boomi, which sheds fascinating new insight into the ubiquity of technology among younger generations. The study surveyed 1,000 12-15 year olds – a core subset of the post-millennial peer group known as “Generation Z” – to decipher what technology meant to them, and where it could take us in the future.
Youngsters, the study shows, are optimistic – even downright visionary – when it comes to predicting the future of technology. When asked what technologies they thought they’d be using in the workplace (10-15 years down the road), 66% answered “driverless cars”, with 47% holding out hope for robot assistants at work. Other technological ameliorations foreseen by Gen Z included artificial intelligence (41%), virtual offices (38%) and robot housekeepers (34%). Whether or not they’ll be in said workplace with the various AIs is, of course, a matter of debate.
At least we can decamp to another planet – or so they think, with the news that over a quarter (26%) of the Gen Z pool believe commercial space travel will be “a thing” by 2032, a meagre 15 years away. Rather appropriately, given such a tall order, over half of those studied (52%) believe that, when they do eventually join the workforce in 10-15 years, they’ll be using technology that hasn’t even been invented yet.
What’s underlying all of this futuristically minded enthusiasm? Technology facilitates “a better way of doing things” was the pithy summary proffered by one pre-teen, which pretty much encapsulates Gen Z’s high estimation of the subject. There were responses aplenty about technology “making lives easier”, “making life better”, not to mention the role it plays in “assisting people” and “entertaining humans”. I’ll say. One participant in the study went so far as to deem it “a way of escaping reality and having fun with my friends on social media or texting”, hinting at the phenomenon of social isolation at the hands of ostensibly “social” media.
Ian Currie, EMEA director at Dell Boomi, commented on the findings, saying: “It’s clear that technology now plays a central role in every child’s life and their expectations on how they will use innovative technology when they enter the workplace are extremely high.”
He went on: “To meet these demands, businesses need to prepare for the next generation of technology and the many more data points they bring […] A trusted integration solution, built in the cloud, to quickly connect any combination of cloud and on-premise applications, provides a robust platform to support this. Only with it in place can businesses embrace new innovations and easily transfer data, in real-time, between applications which proves invaluable in remaining competitive.”
So there you have it – Gen Z are a technologically minded bunch, heralding a new age of connectivity, growth and innovation. Now if only we could wean them off Snapchat.