Do you want to know what worries me most about the world as it is at the moment?
Probably not, but you’re going to hear it anyway.
It’s not the soaring price of energy, nor is it Doby the House Elf’s invasion of Ukraine. And it’s not the Chinese ‘flu, particularly since Rishi Sunak has come out and said what I’ve been saying since the whole thing began: that it was totally overexaggerated, there never should have been lockdowns, and allowing the scientists to dictate policy was like putting the lunatics in charge of the asylum.
What worries me most is that there is a generation out there who have never experienced life without a smart phone.
Granted, at the other end of the scale there is a generation of elbow nudging, mask wearing coffin dodgers who voted for Brexit and don’t know how to use the things. They either lose them, or have the ring tone volume turned up high enough to trigger earthquakes.
You probably know this, but the aforementioned generation is called Generation Z. If you were born between 1997 and 2012, you will fit into this demographic, but as no one from Generation Z will be reading this, I don’t run the risk of offending you.
To digress for one moment, after reading my last blog – the one in which I suggested that most Czech and Welsh women aren’t exactly stunners – a close friend suggested that I don’t care who I offend, and I would like to point out that this is only partially true.
But I also believe in the right to be offended, and if you find my blogs to be offensive, please feel free to offend back.
I was in the gym last night and found myself on a chest press machine amid a pack of feral teenaged boys (Generation Z … you’re getting the idea now) clogging up the machines and doing one repetition per twenty texts. One of them was wearing a Tee shirt that bore the word “Fuck” in large letters, and beneath it, a lot of text in smaller letters. I couldn’t read the rest of it because I didn’t want to look like a paedophile, but it probably went on to outline usage of the word as an adjective, an adverb, an exclamation, to describe pain, pleasure, hate, love, fraud, dismay, trouble, aggression, difficulty, inquiry, incompetence, dissatisfaction, dismissal, and its usage as a transitive verb (John fucked Shirley), and as intransitive verb (Shirley fucks like a rabbit).
This isn’t original, of course, but you could make a case that wearing this Tee shirt in a public place was offensive, but I actually thought it was quite funny and told its owner, who spoke a bit of English.
‘Why don’t you get one made up that says: “Wanker (noun) – person who wears Tee shirts bearing the word Fuck”?’ This, of course, went over his head, but my point here is if your words, actions or Tee shirts run the risk of causing offence, that suggests that you are a justifiable target for offence yourself.
Back to Gen Z, and why I am so worried about them.
Generation Z should really be called the Hybrid Generation, because they are the mid-point between Baby Boomers and the first generation which will be chipped to run exclusively on Artificial Intelligence. You scoff? This is not Science Fiction, it is almost certainly Science Fact. Probably, by the end of the twenty-first century, a combination of humans and machines will have harnessed the power of the internet, multiplied it by about a million, and condensed in onto something the size of a SIM card which be inserted into the cerebrum. You think I’m kidding? Well, I’m not.
Right now, we already have robots that provide human-like interactions with software and offer decision support for specific tasks. And as these become ever more sophisticated, humans are going to need to stay ahead of the game, and this is how they will do it.
Schools and universities won’t exist, because everything you need to know will already be in your brain.
Want to learn a language? No need – you can already speak every language ever that ever evolved, and that includes Klingon.
Want to be entertained? Just select from the appropriate menu option and you can be at the centre of every interactive game ever thought of, or invent your own.
Boring? Yep, I’d say so.
What we have with Gen Z is pretty much what we have with hybrid cars. Their primary source of information comes from their smart phone; a hybrid car’s primary source of power comes from its electric battery.
On the rare occasions when they cannot obtain the information they require from their smart phone – this is generally when they lose it or forget to power it up – they resort to using their brains, in the same way that a hybrid car resorts to petrol.
And because their brains are atrophied, they will simply borrow or steal someone else’s smart phone to recruit the information they are looking for. Remember the day Facebook and its derivatives crashed? OMG! It was apocryphal, wasn’t it? I mean, like, how did you … like … manage to get through it?
Now you probably think that I’m bashing Gen Z but I’m not. And it’s a good thing to see teenagers using the gym, but I’m counting the days until they go back to school, or college, or borstal, or whatever it’s called these days.
It’s not their fault that the smart phone was invented. I would blame Frank Canova (he invented the smart phone – if you’ve not heard of him, Google him) for this in the same way that I would blame David Cameron for allowing poorly-educated, xenophobic geriatrics to vote to take back control of empty supermarket shelves, hospital wards, and fruit and vegetable farms.
But it worries me, nonetheless, because there is no control over what appears on social media, and this generation forms their values, beliefs and obtains knowledge and their understanding of the world based on a litany of lies, misinformation and false information.
And that’s before we even get to advertisements for Tee shirts bearing the word “Fuck”.