At my house we love Spongebob Squarepants and we usually watch it through Roku, commercial-free. For some reason last Saturday we were watching it on a regular TV broadcast when a commercial came on and interrupted the show. My daughter looked up from her doll and said “What’s that?”
“What’s what?” I replied.
“That,” pointing to the TV.
“The commercial?” I asked, wondering if I knew what she was talking about.
“What’s a commercial?” she asked.
It struck me that a kid today doesn’t recognize what commercial is, even though she watches TV. We have unlimited access to a surplus of entertainment choices, yet only see commercials if we are ignoring our technological advantages. What does this mean for advertisers and entertainment companies? How will this affect revenue streams as technology continues to advance at a rapid pace?
Later that day at the park, three little kids were swinging on the swings next to us. A kid no older than 8 took out his iPhone and filmed a video of his friends on the swings. He pressed a few buttons and then announced that he uploaded the video to his YouTube channel and posted the link on his Facebook page. The whole process couldn’t have taken him more than two minutes. I was blown away. His actions were natural and almost automatic for him, easier than remembering to say “please” and “thank you.” Does he realize that his personal life is accessible to billions of people? Does he even know what a “billion” is? Do we really understand how “social networking” affects our reputations and relationships? How will all of this progress 5, 10, 20 years from now?
That night at bedtime, my son was practicing reading one of his favorite books. His little fingers struggled to turn the page. As we waited patiently for him to find a proper grip, he broke the silence by saying “Loading..,” equating the experience to a slow webpage. This guy is not yet 6 years old, he is missing several teeth, and he is more comfortable on a computer than a lot of adults I know. What will it mean when his generation enters the workplace? What current jobs will be totally obsolete? Will he study things in college that are outdated the day he graduates?
All of these circumstances are glimpses into the future, and commentary on the present. The rate of advancement in technology, business, and healthcare in the last 20 years has been significant. Building on that foundation, the next 20 years will see more extreme change than this planet has ever known. Change is not coming, it is here. Keep up or be irrelevant.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin