Monday, June 15, 2015

Things I Hope My Daughter Never Has to Do

Not going to lie - it's definitely a little weird to have a kid. Not weird in terms of what you have to do (dirty diapers are many things, but they aren't weird), but it's weird to have to be responsible for something. Like a houseplant, only you'll go to jail if you don't water it (and your wife will be PISSED).

But it's not all that complicated to take care of a baby - they don't have too many demands. So when you're sitting there feeding your infant daughter a bottle and she's happy - you get some time to think about random stuff.

So I started to wonder, what's going to be really different for my daughter when she gets to be an adult. She's six months old now, so in the next 17.5 years, how are things going to change?

On its face - its an absurd question. When I was born, I'm sure if you asked my parents what things would be like around the new century - they'd have no way of knowing even half of the things that I got to take advantage of. They definitely wouldn't have predicted cell phones or the internet - if they had, they'd be billionaires. So yeah, this exercise is laughably futile...but I did want to think of some things that might impact her life in a few years. And it's exciting to think about all the awesome things that I'd like and realize we might go WAY past that. (of course there's also the zombie apocalypse scenario, but let's set that aside)

Things I think my daughter won't have to deal with in 2032 (I'm going to be embarrassed if I have to read this in 2032)

- No cursive handwriting: This isn't that big a deal, but all that time in elementary school learning script, I'm guessing that'll go away considering no one really uses it anymore. Maybe schools don't even teach it now. The only thing I've had to write in cursive since I learned it was my signature, and that's already going away.

- No channel surfing: As a kid, I'll always remember turning on the TV, rotating through every single channel to find something to watch, then not finding anything, and going to a different TV in the house to see if that one had anything different. Kids today have no concept of this. Not only are there dynamic channel guides, but now you're really not beholden to any kind of TV schedule. Whatever you want, you can get through either VOD or services like Netflix. I don't think my daughter will ever know the experience of turning on the TV without a plan of what she's going to watch.

- No paying with cash: This should be a no-brainer. I'm already 90% of the way there in terms of getting rid of cash as a payment vehicle, and as cell phone payments get even more ubiquitous - cash is going to vanish except for stuff you want to keep hidden. So except for my daughter's illegal arms deals, I'm guessing she won't handle cash.

- No waiting in line: This one is a bit more ambitious, but I feel like by the time we hit 2032, we as a society should be way beyond waiting in lines. Grocery stores, drug stores, to the degree that these things still exist - we should be completely beyond waiting in line to pay for things. Sure, there's a chance that there will be some super advancements in RFID-like technology that enables you to just pick stuff up in stores and walk out with it, but I'm also betting that retailers will find ways to remove the human requirement from checking out at a front counter - you might just do it yourself, and so you won't need to wait for anyone to help you. (maybe this is more my fantasy than a real guess for the future)

- No driving a car: This is a big one, and one I'm desperately hoping our legal industry doesn't bury in 500 tons of lawsuits. It would be amazing if my daughter never had to learn how to drive a car. I'd probably still teach her (see aforementioned zombie scenario), but fully automated cars would be such an amazing life change for her, I really hope it comes to fruition. Automated cars would allow people to live without owning a car and allow cities to dump things like parking infrastructure and remove tons of traffic congestion (because your average driver is an idiot, and half of all drivers are bigger idiots than the average one). When I think about her future, I'm super excited about this one.

- Always-on connectivity: The ability to never ever ever ever be out of contact via cell phone. No gaps in coverage. No bad reception. Constant GPS tracking....Alright, so this one is mostly still for me.

The best part of even thinking about this is that I'm sure I'm not even scratching the surface of what's to come. Maybe there'll even be something to stave off the zombie apocalypse, I can certainly dream about that.

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