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About this blog: I grew up in Palo Alto and now live in Mountain View with my husband, daughter and two corgis. After about a decade grappling with the law, first as a law student at UC Berkeley and then as a litigator around the Bay Area, I left ...  (More)

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Fascinating Short Film: Interviews with Kids Whose Parents Work in Silicon Valley

Uploaded: Jun 15, 2014
I watched an interesting short film by Mike Mills yesterday: A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought Alone. Previously at the SF MOMA, the film is a compilation of interviews with ethnically diverse and articulate kids of workers in Silicon Valley. The kids range from about 8-12-years-old.

Mills asks the kids a series of questions about how the world will change in the future and how they feel about technology. The kids' parents include Google's cafeteria line cooks, an Apple engineer, a Cisco worker, a customer service person, an entrepreneur, and a PR person at a tiny start-up.

Among the interesting answers about what the kids think the world will look like were theories that there would be a lot more technology and art and danger, but less natural wildlife. One kid noted that the world would be trashed unless we figure out a way to fix global warming and that the world would run out of fossil fuels. Another kid commented that regular "farming by hand" wouldn't exist.

Still another commented that "in the time of Socrates they were much smarter because they used their brain more." The same kid noted that we now make computers do things for us and "that's the good part, we won't have to use our brains." One kid speculated that everyone in the future would talk like Biff's grandson from Back to the Future.

An aspect of the interview that will surprise precisely nobody was the amount of technology our kids have. One girl answered that she has an "iPhone, iPad, two iPod Touches, iPod Nano, a desktop..." But what was interesting to me was the kids' hyperawareness that technology may have a detrimental impact and their expectation that it would.

Many of the kids thought the world would be overrun with technology in the future. One said that people would have less personal interaction and say hi to each other from computers, even though social skills develop better "in-person."

Another kid speculated people wouldn't be as good looking because they would work from home and have conference calls through the television, while sitting on the couch. They probably wouldn't speak well because they would just be typing. In spite of their opinions that technology may have harmful effects in the future, most of the kids wanted to keep some form of technology when asked to choose what they would keep, if they could only keep one possession.

According to Mike Mills in an interview with journalist Gideon Lewis-Kraus, the kids in Silicon Valley had a more bleak vision about the world's future than kids he interviewed in Silver Lake (LA). If you're interested, you can listen to a podcast of an interview with Mike Mills by journalist Gideon Lewis-Kraus or read it here. (Access details through July 1 also available there).

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