The Digital Native– a term first coined by Mark Prensky in 2001– to describe the generation of people who have grown up in the digital age. Well, me being a 22-year-old college graduate, I fit into this description perfectly. I decided to do a short series where I am going to explore the monumental rise of technology from my perspective– and other “digital natives” who I work alongside with.
Yes, it’s true, I don’t quite remember a time without computers. However, I remember the hassle of dial-up internet and extremely slow speeds. My parent’s home office computer was the size of a dinosaur– I may be exaggerating a bit– but you get the point. Using the internet was not even worth it at times. As 6th grade came around, I was uber jealous of my friends who were allowed a cell phone– with the most basic calling and texting functionalities. I, on the other hand, still had to call my friend’s home phones and politely go through the parent who picked up on the other side.
Then came the rise of Apple. I distinctly recall being able to switch from my hand-held CD player to an iPod shuffle, and I was ecstatic. The idea of having my music all in one place was amazing. One of my top requests on my birthday that year was an iTunes gift card. As each song costs $1.29, I was very wise about my selections. In 2009, Apple released the newest version of the iPod Nano, with the biggest screen yet. Obviously, this was the start of Apple’s big takeoff. Eventually, I got hold of the iPod touch and a phone of my own. I shared my phone plan with the rest of my family, so I had a limited number of texts I could send before we were charged extra. My iPod touch made it easier for me to text my friends on wifi– with no extra charge, I felt like I had the world at my fingertips.
It is fascinating to look back at my childhood and grasp the way technology changed so quickly. Many people may look back and wish they had invested in Apple or any of the other “Tech Giants” at the time of their rise. Needless to say, it seems like we are at another turning point for breakthrough technologies. Ten years ago, if you would have mentioned artificial intelligence to anyone in the room, they would have thought you were referencing a sci-fi movie. However, today, Alexa has already proven the power of artificial intelligence. Mixed realities– such as AR and VR– are likely to be just as significant as the rise of computers.
As businesses, colleges, and healthcare systems all begin to embrace immersive technology, my life and future career has the potential to look much different than generations before me. It is both daunting and exciting. Yet–as a digital native– it can’t be too anomalous, can it?