Actually, Boomers, Technology Is NOT Making Us The 'Dumbest Generation'

Actually, Boomers, Technology Is NOT Making Us The 'Dumbest Generation'

To those that argue that technology is ruining the minds of modern young people, you could not be further from the truth.

It's incredibly frustrating to constantly hear adults saying things like, "Technology is making kids stupid." Are there kids that may be better off spending less time on phones and TV? Sure, but the same could be said for adults. Modern-day youth are far from “dumb” because of technology. If anything, technology expands young people’s intellectual capacities and increases their potential to do amazing things. So, I took personal offense when I found out that critics like Mark Bauerlein, who wrote “The Dumbest Generation,” argue that “the advantages [of more technology] don’t show up in intellectual outcomes,” and the “mental equipment” of younger generations is sorely lacking.

First of all, the actual definition of the word “intelligence” depends on the context and a variety of other factors. Bauerlein seems to focus on the fact that young people know comparatively “less” than previous generations. As journalist Sharon Begley points out, Bauerlein does have a point in terms of intelligence defined as “holding the most knowledge.”

However, I dislike this idea that one person may be more intelligent than another simply because they know all 44 presidents or can name the capitals of all 196 countries. That may have been relevant when Bauerlein was younger, but my generation shouldn't need to spend effort memorizing trivial information like the aforementioned if it's a Google search away. Instead, young people are exploring their own unique brands of intelligence.

Another thing people complain about all the time is video games. From a productivity standpoint, I completely understand. Yet most critics of video games seem to be influenced by the “cliché that [video games] are about improving hand-eye coordination and firing virtual weapons." As is true of many stereotypes, these supposed traits of are only representative of a small number of video games. As science author Steven Johnson says, “the majority of video games on the best-seller list contain no more bloodshed than a game of Risk.” The most popular games challenge mental dexterity just as much as, if not more so than, they challenge manual dexterity. This, and the fact that most players choose to “feel their way” through a game rather than reading a manual or walk-through, contribute to the increasing reliance of video games on what Johnson calls “competence principle.” Video games do not make young people stupid. In fact, modern video games rely on the aforementioned competence principle in order to add depth, complexity, and value to the gaming experience. The most highly rated games are far from what anyone would call ‘simple.’

Minecraft,” for example, is a popular adventure game that initially puts a player in an outdoor environment. Its simplistic graphics belie its true nature. Players must be constantly aware of their surroundings, adaptable to sudden changes in the environment and willing to take risks and explore if they want their character to survive. More experienced players have typically learned to plan accordingly for the future, and apply real-world principles and techniques such as physics, architecture and coding to create complex environments. This is the competence principle in its purest form. Players can’t get involved or invested in a game that can be completed in less than five minutes, so video games require an increasing degree of competence and adaptive mental capacity in order for a player to be successful.

People who call out technology as idiot-inducing ignore the fact that tech is a toy and a tool. My biotechnology class at Paulding County High School is a perfect example of this. As the name of the course may suggest, student research and experiments in the class are dependent on technology. Students who take the course must understand to some degree the complex processes that their tools undergo. With this technology, students isolate genes in microscopic animals, study mutations in C. elegans, observe yeast’s effects on various saccharides and map out the genome for E. coli. Between hunting for water bears and collecting data from bird boxes, the class is definitely a blast. Students enjoy what they’re doing. With this technology, students revolutionize the world of science at their school, and develop the potential to change the lives of millions of people.

Technology isn’t dampening the intelligence of younger people; it’s enhancing them. Yes, the degree of straight up memorization is not as high as that of previous generations, but that’s only because technology has made it so that young people can spend mental effort on more important things. Yes, video games can change how a young person thinks, but more often than not, it’s for the better and with skills that are nothing but valuable. And yes, a good portion of today's youth could afford to spend less time on their phone and more time outside, but honestly? The modern young generation’s access to technology is critical if the world is ever to continue to grow and expand in new ways. Older generations tend to be uninformed about the “latest tech,” but young people are more connected and involved with technology than anyone in the past has ever seen.

We’re anything but the “dumbest generation." We’re the generation that’s going to change the world.

Cover Image Credit: Zainab Thompson

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The Bumpiest Feud In The Tech Industry Since 1976: Microsoft v.s. Apple

These two companies are definitely familiar to most, because you're probably using one of their devices or pieces of software to access the internet itself. However, the competition has been around for longer and was much rockier than you'd ever think.

The debate has always been there, even if it comes in many different names. "MacBook versus PC," "IOS versus Windows" and "Apple versus Microsoft" are just a few of the ways we name this particular feud that has lasted for at least 10 years. Both sides have had their ups and downs, but who actually "wins" this competition? Or is there even a way to "win?"

Microsoft originated in 1975, and Apple originated just a year afterward, in 1976. Surprisingly, there wasn't a ton of hot air between the two companies initially, like most would expect there to be. They actually worked together on the Macintosh, Apple's first computer. Microsoft was critical to several programs that would be on the Macintosh. There was even a promotional video with Bill Gates, the creator of Microsoft, for the Macintosh to advertise it.

Apple started to create more software, with graphical interfaces. This led to things between the two companies becoming the way we picture them: sour. With two new companies competing with each other for technological dominance in the 1980s, tensions began to rise. Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple, started to toss insults at Microsoft left and right. He stated that they had no creativity and were just innovating on old ideas instead of inventing new ones.

The public apparently didn't agree with Jobs though, since Windows 1.0 was released in 1985 and ultimately allowed Windows to build the road from a local company to software that was known throughout the world. At around the same time, Steve Jobs was booted from Apple, his own company. The balance of power shifted to Microsoft and Apple was dismantling. While Windows continued to release new software for computers, Apple struggled for 12 years until they brought Jobs back to the company. After so much bitterness towards Microsoft, Jobs finally decided that working together would be more beneficial than "destructive relationships." The public was, by now, well accustomed to the hatred between Microsoft and Apple and did not like this new development.

After being on better terms for a few years, Apple was nursed back to health from its valley in the late 1980s and early 1990s and started to accuse Microsoft of cheating yet again. Apple and Microsoft continued to develop their products, with Microsoft still holding the upper hand into the early 2000s.

Portable music systems held great value ever since the Walkman was released in the 1970s. Apple released the iPod in the early 2000s, and it quickly made a name for itself in the years after. It was easier to transport than the Walkman and had actual storage, not cassettes. Everyone had one of these until the next decade, and its importance carried into the next big Apple product, which was releasing in 2007.

However, now that both companies had made a name for themselves in the national market, the words of consumers started holding more and more importance. The two companies were essentially forced to race in creating the best technology in the least amount of time and "hating" the competition.

Finally, Apple introduced a groundbreaking product — the very first iPhone. This started a chain of items that almost everyone would have in their pockets in the next few years. It gave Apple the push it needed, and for once, the company skipped ahead of Microsoft Windows and introduced iOS, successful up to this very second. Ever since then, Apple and Microsoft have been consistently creating new interfaces and products, always taking public demand into account.

Of course, there were a few slip-ups. iOS 7 was initially rejected by some for changing the app designs to abstract images and completely changing the layout of everything in all the basic apps, and the iPhone 7 was rejected for not having a headphone jack. But Apple is known for making things simple and aesthetic and eventually, these products won Apple customers over.

Microsoft had released more Windows software-Windows ME (Millenium Edition) was actually released in a hurry to give customers something new, so it's said by some to have been poorly made. The biggest ever Windows flop released in 2007 and is known as the infamous "Windows Vista." The software was full of flaws and was also extremely slow in performance, but Microsoft released another software, Windows 7, and this brought them back from the mess caused by its precedent.

Whew, now that the history lesson (although a quite interesting history lesson) is over with...

Both companies have flaws, and they both have a rocky history with each other as well, but they both endured their worst mistakes and managed to survive to this day, with products known around the world. Some of their products are probably in your house today.

So who wins the competition? Microsoft had pretty steady successes compared to Apple, but Apple made a huge comeback in the late 2000s to emerge on top of Microsoft and several other companies. The answer is whoever you, as the consumer, think is better. It sounds cheesy, but it's true: each company has something unique about it that people like to see in their technology. There's no doubt that this debate will go on as long as these two companies exist.

After all, companies started in garages by college dropouts have a knack for getting the public's attention.

Cover Image Credit: Kashvi Mundra

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The Reason A Lot Of Today's Most Common Job's Won't Be Around In 20 Years

Will Your Dream Job Still Be Around In The Future?

The other day, I was reading a newspaper on the train and I noticed how that newspaper emphasized how a lot of today's most known jobs will not be available in the future due to the rapid growth of technology.

When you go to a grocery store, have you noticed that their is more self-checkouts rather than cashiers? Or how robots are starting to replace surgeons? The reason for this is that these new devices are becoming cheaper for companies, and they are a one-time investment.

Though these new devices are taking many out of work, these companies are also saving millions of dollars by doing this. Companies are trying to cut costs, and liabilities by getting rid of employees and installing these new systems within the workplace.

While many employees are being left unemployed, and angry; many have come to the realization that this is the real world, and everything that happens is because of business. The business world does not care about anyone's emotions, all the business world cares about is cutting costs and making a profit.

As technology continues to grow, and rise, a lot of things that we are used to, and are accustomed to will not be around.Though it is hard for us to adapt to these new changes, this is just the direction that world is heading in and we have to accept it.

So by accepting these new technological changes, that means that there is a great chance your dream job may not be available when you are ready to get it. An example of the jobs that will probably not be around in the future include and are not limited to: Surgeons,Cashiers, Chefs, Accountants, Technicians, and etc.

So if you're looking for a future career, it should be within an industry that will not be going down. It is best to get involved within the industry that is taking over these jobs, and that is technology!

Any individual that decides to get involved within computer science will be guaranteed a sustainable career for years to come because after all this industry is on a rise to take over every other industry in existence. Technology is allowing each industry to grow because of the new developing system, devices, and interfaces. Without technology we would not be able to grow at the rapid rate we are today. So it's best to set your future hopes at a realistic view, and do what's best.

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