It's easy to view tech's stronghold on society as a suffocating force, depriving today's youth of the necessary skills to thrive in society while dooming the world to a soulless future.
Kids these days: always tapping away on their iPhone, unable to relate to the pages of a book, or the brain-boosting power of handwriting, or the delicacies of a real-life conversation not involving acronyms. Whatever happened to human connection, compassion and careful critical thought?
Well fear not, computer curmudgeons, because a riveting (if pretentiously named) new short film, A Mind Forever Foraging Through Strange Seas of Thought Alone, reveals that everything may be OK after all.
The documentary takes the time to interview the youth of America from the heart of tech-land—the offspring, ages 9-12, of Silicon Valley white-collar workers. Exploring themes ranging from A.I. to global warming, the children prove themselves to be—dare we say it—more thoughtful than many adults blustering about the dark future ahead.
The kids are cute, of course, because they're kids and that's their jam (witness: adorable child-tongue struggling to say "technologically"). But more than that, they're insightful and prescient, describing a future at once realistic (driverless cars) and filled with naive wonder (floating houses).
The most surprising thing however is that the kids seem all-too aware of the limits of tech, critiquing it as a tool allowing people to "get more lazy" while giving up on nature. A.I. running the world? No way. As one girl optimistically puts it, "You want people who have deep feelings for each other to rule the world in a nice way."
Sure, there are some scary "the world is ending" moments, like the boy who says in the future, "We won't have to use our brain—we can get computers to do it for us." But the most profound and resonant theme running throughout is compassion, with the interviewees talking earnestly about things like curbing global warming and closing the income gap. (Girl in purple shirt is so ready to tackle global poverty.)
And lest we think all kids care about is the latest iPhone, there are also shout-outs to old-school Legos, stuffed animals, books—actual books!—and even the teachings of Socrates.
So sure, the future will be complicated and uneasy. But let's not freak out just yet. Turns out, the kids are alright.
Watch the whole video here, using the password BELIEVER (all caps), through July 1.