Gen Z can't operate printers
A rather amusing and insightful article from The Guardian.
Reminds us of something we've been saying for a while: Young people aren't necessarily as intelligent and fluent with technology as you think. The tech is just easier to use, and you know the tech that you've grown up on.
The elderly struggle to pick up technology as it's a whole new language to them, and just like a spoken language, it's more difficult to pick up as we get older, because we lose neuroplasticity. Even with our best effort, we'll always have a distinctly foreign accent.
Gen Z knows their way around current technology, which is exceptionally refined and optimised to its core. It's designed to be easy and intuitive; so much so that it's actually quite hard to press a wrong button.
It's people in the middle of these two age groups that are generally the best equipped to deal with the full spectrum of technology that we use today. The experience gained by growing up with less intuitive operating systems gives them a greater set of skills. Firstly, they went through a structured educational process where they learned basic computing fundamentals. Then they learnt how to troubleshoot (without Google) because many systems had to be manually configured and would often crash or fail. This helped build technical problem-solving skills which are far less common today, but still apply broadly to all areas of technology.
You don't build these skills by following a bunch of colourful icons on a touch screen whilst built-in AI and algorithms fix everything behind the scenes. Thus, you get people that know what their technology does, but don't know how it works.
This is technological evolution. We don't really need to know how to maintain and fix our cars or read maps to navigate anymore - which is great - but we do lose something valuable as technology makes it all easy for us. There's broad knowledge, skills and personal fulfilment that comes with figuring out how something works.
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