We recently bit the bullet and gave our each of our kids an Alexa device for their rooms. As they get older, they like listening to their own music choices, plus Alexa takes the place of an alarm clock, a stereo and apparently a whole lot more that we didn’t even anticipate.
My kids are constantly talking to Alexa. It’s as if they have a friend over all the time. I remember when we were kids and we thought we had our own “invisible friend” — but now that friend has a name and full engages in conversation. My kids ask Alexa questions, have it tell them jokes and play games. It’s the digital baby-sitter.
The truth is my kids are symbolic of the very near-term future. They live life in a different way.
First off, they love to talk to machines. In addition to Alexa, they talk to the TV to ask for shows, and they talk to my phone to ask Siri questions. In the car, they ask Siri to play music while we’re driving, and they see me when I speak to my Apple Car Talk to get directions.
To them, voice-activated AI is an everyday occurrence and they really don’t understand why I spend so much time typing on my laptop. It doesn’t help matters that I’m constantly talking to and about Eva, the AI we have for in-meetings.
Secondl my kids think everything is on demand. When they talk to the TV and ask it for a show, they routinely ask for the “Golden State Warriors” because they assume there’s always a game on. If my kids had their way, the Warriors would play 365 games per year. During the midst of the NBA season it can seem the games are live all the time, but that’s because we record the games so the kids can watch them later.
My kids, operating under that model, seem to think everything is simply on when they want to see it. Appointment viewing is a thing of the past — not something they’re likely to deal with as they get older.
Which leads me to the last point: My kids love advertising! They see so few actual TV commercials that the ones they’re exposed to resonate. The ads they do see are usually on sports programming because that’s the only live programming they watch. On a routine basis, you can hear my kids singing a Mountain Dew commercial — or an All State slogan will come out of their mouths. The other day I got dressed and my 8-year-old son walked in and said, “Dad, you’re gonna like the way you look,” and left the room. He is quoting Men’s Wearhouse now!
Our kids are living in a world where computers and devices cater to them, in their language, rather than the way way around. They may never have to learn the language of computers because computers already are learning their language.
The world will revolve around the human race in a technological way that wasn’t the case for previous generations. It’s a unique perspective to have, which will radically change the ways media companies have to promote themselves to this generation. Advertising may actually resonate more when it is able to burst through to the attention of the user because the tools will be there to stop it — so those that come through may come off as a novelty, in addition to being highly targeted.
It’s going to be an interesting 20 years ahead, that’s for sure!