This cartoon (thanks to citizensforsafetechnology.org), which has been knocking around the Internet for a few months, is good enough to show again here.
Entering an office today full of Millennial knowledge workers (say, a law firm or investment firm) is a curiously subdued experience. Not a lot of talking, folding, walking, singing, stapling, photocopying… or even moving. Everyone is intensely focused, busily attending to many tasks, and (usually) communicating with others, often with many others at the same time. But it’s all done with a screen, keyboard, and headphones. To the outside observor, there seems to be almost nothing going on.
I am reminded of the climactic scene in Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End (1953), when Jan (the last real “human”) returns to earth and finds all of the earth’s children, in the hundreds of millions, lying motionless on one continent, not even opening their eyes. But they are communicating through telepathy, and soon they begin to move and reconfigure the planets through telekenesis. As I recall, Jan stays to witness the transformation of the rising generation into pure mind (this is where it gets real Boomer!), which finally happens in a Stanley Kubrick-style flash of pure energy that destroys the entire solar system.
Thankfully, most Millennials are as yet engaged in more prosaic activities: emailing their boss, IMing their friend, checking out a YouTube video, airbrushing something out of their Facebook wall…