In 2010, the Pew Research Center released a report profiling Millennials and comparing and contrasting to older generations. (For the purpose of this survey, Millennials were defined as those born after 1980.)
The report delves into a number of lifestyle trends among the Millennial generation, but in particular, discusses technology use among this key demographic.
- 24% of Millennials in this study, in response to an open-ended question, felt that technology-use is the defining characteristic of their generation.
Other lifestyle choices among Millennials, revealed in this report, support this claim:
- 83% report having ever placed their cell phone on or right next to their bed while sleeping.
- 64% admit to texting while driving.
- 75% have created a profile on a social media site.
- 62% reported connecting to the Internet wirelessly when away from home or work.
Two quotes from the Pew Research report highlight the pervasive nature of technology use among the Gen Y generation:
“Steeped in digital technology and social media, [Millennials] treat their multi-tasking hand-held gadgets almost like a body part – for better and worse.
Millennials’ technological exceptionalism is chronicled throughout the survey. It’s not just their gadgets – it’s the way they’ve fused their social lives into them.”
Many Millennials have integrated social and digital technology into every aspect of their life. It has become a primary platform for self-expression. They also have a greater belief than other generations that new technology will make their life easier and make people more connected.
If there is one thing that is certain, it is that technology will continue to advance – often at a blinding fast pace. As new technology categories emerge and develop – categories such as wearable technology, bio tech, cloud computing, smart home tech, driverless cars, and 3-D printing (as well as categories not yet conceived) – the way we live our lives in modern American society, will continue to transform. The way we communicate, connect, and collaborate with other people (socially and professionally) will evolve.
In a February 2014 Forbes Magazine article, digital innovation expert Greg Satell writes, “Today, computers are taking over the work of humans and it appears that we are entering a new industrial revolution. While this alarms some, many technologists point out that we’ve been through similar times of technological change and emerged better for it.”
Satell further suggests that as artificial intelligence and thinking machines begin to permeate our everyday lives, the problems we face with the future of technology will be largely cultural. “While the past favored those who could retain and process information efficiently,” Satell writes, “the future belongs to those who can imagine a better world and work with others to make it happen.”
Future considerations we must consider include:
- what effect will constant connectivity will have on our physical and mental health?
- how will our economy will adapt to computers replacing human jobs?
- what safety-measures need to be implemented to protect personal privacy?
I’d love to hear from you! Comment below with your thoughts on what effects you see future technology making on societal and lifestyle trends.