My younger son asked me to help him find out if anyone breeds Pokemon for a job. So we look up breeders and yes, there are professional breeders. He uses his birthday money.
I am happy there’s something he wants to buy because I worry that I buy everything my kids ask for and they are spoiled brats. But who raises spoiled brats on a farm?
I was reading about Apple and the new automated personal assistants. I think the next generation is not going to complain about all the jobs being automated. Instead, they will complain about doing tasks that should be automated, like breeding Pokemon.
After the Orlando shooting my older son said all guns should be tied to an iPhone app. And if 10 people at one spot push a button, all guns in that area are disabled. While the NRA would squash that, his app idea is consistent with my thinking that the next generation’s instinct is to automate.
Specializing will be more important than ever because general skills are more easily automated. Also, in a world where people think of automating first, lots of people will have work alongside automated systems.
How can we prepare kids for this workforce?
Think about automating everything you can at home. Model for the kids that automation is both a logistical question (can it be done?) and a soul-searching question (is the work intrinsically rewarding?).
Ask the kids why they spend their time doing what they are doing. Is it meaningful? Is it fulfilling? Is there something they’d rather do to earn money to pay someone else, or to automate this task?
Also, while parents are fetishizing the handmade-farm-to-table-locavore-whatever movement, the next generation will mock the randomness of the term artisanal. Instead, the look of automation will be the reigning aesthetic. Which explains why images of Olga Noskovaa’s cakes, which look untouched by humans, went viral.
Encourage specialization. Generalists will be automated into oblivion. So teach kids to specialize early on. Generation Z will live to age 90. They will have many careers. But you can’t have a career until you commit to one.
Don’t let young people tell you they don’t know what they want to do. Because honestly, very few adults know what they want to do, and most of them knew when they were young. Everyone else has to take a leap and hope for the best.
Encourage kids to take those leaps early on. When they languish later, waiting to be struck by lightning with a career idea (as everyone does at one point or another), maybe they will remember that a fulfilling life comes from jumping in with two feet and committing to where you land. Because you have to do something, and there’s no right answer.
Look for problems rather than solutions. If we know the solution is to automate, then what is the problem? The more innovative our questions are, the wider a reach automation will have.
My son has a bunch of Pokemon cards he doesn’t want, and he was thinking of some sort of automated way to match them with kids who want them.
My older son said, “Forget it, no one wants those bad cards. They’re bad.”
I said, “Don’t throw them on the floor.”
And my kids started brainstorming for a way to automatically throw out bad cards so that I don’t yell about the kids leaving them all over the house.