Are kids today just users? (6 Sep, 2018)

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Are kids today just users? (6 Sep, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:02 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2018/0906.shtml

Have we lost our curiosity?

Are kids today simply "users" of technology and have they lost the desire to peek inside, see what's going on and understand the inner-workings?

If so, what does this mean to the future supply of engineers, scientists and technicians?

And if we're left with "users" rather than those who want to learn more and build on what we already know, what does this mean for the job prospects of the next generation, especially in the face of increased automation?

Might the real threat posed by AI, robotics and such be not that the machines will rise up against us -- but that the legions of people who find themselves out of work and out of options will start rebelling at the political systems which have allowed this to happen?

Tell us your thoughts.
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Re: Are kids today just users? (6 Sep, 2018)

Postby Malcolm » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:31 am

I think there are just as many kids wanting to get stuck in and learn how things work, pull them apart and put them back together. It is just a few years back (up to the mid 90s I would say) the only ones who used computers were the ones who tinkered and got in to the depths of how they worked. It was the same with cars, early on only the mechanically minded got one but they became ubiquitous and everyone has one. Yet most would struggle to change a tyre. There were still some who would be happily elbow deep in grease and bolts seeing how it all worked. Have a look around adults, most don't care to understand how the world works and just want to go by from day to day. The same ones who are curious as adults were the curious tinkering kids back in the day.
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Re: Are kids today just users? (6 Sep, 2018)

Postby phill » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:38 am

for the pull things to bits to see how they work part
there has to be a storm of reasons kids dont do that now .. and they dont
just peaking through the badly fitting back on most electrical / electronic stuff in the days of yor you could see lots of interesting stuff
watching the repairman open said items was a show in itself
with VLSI and 0.1mm tolerance of manufacturing such interesting views have gone as well as there is no one to watch fixing these things nowadays

very few things are made to be fixed now .. with that we have lost another interesting place to visit .. the spare parts shop
we could at least start with fixing small parts of the old stuff .. nowadays its mostly all or nothing

so that bit seems to be ... they dont see anyone fixing those things .. there is no where to go to buy the parts to fix those things .. they would not know where to start to see whats wrong to be able to fix them ... even the process of opening them to see whats up is a mission with most of the things kids are interested in now

its a throw away world .. and we are indeed throwing it away
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )
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Re: Are kids today just users? (6 Sep, 2018)

Postby latewings » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:03 am

I'm working on the 'lead by example' process in my house with the winglets. Lots of items that break in the house have been openly repaired on the kitchen table followed by a period of self praise and gloating how much has been saved through DYI and an appetite of curiosity.

The two lads have watched and helped put together their computers that were nought but boxes of parts under the wilting Pine tree.

They watched as the 3D printer was assembled recently from the dearth of parts catalogued in the Tardis-like box the kit arrived in.

So I'm hoping they'll get the bug, or at least a belief that things can be repaired rather than assigned to scrap.
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Re: Are kids today just users? (6 Sep, 2018)

Postby goosemoose » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:45 am

In all fairness back in the day components were individual thingys with the odd IC here and there. Nowadays is the odd component here and there and IC's everywhere. Also look at the technology the young 'uns uses these days, cellphones and all sort of gadgets. How you going to investigate how they work with out stacks of hi tech equipment and probably, a pile of legal disclaimers.
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Re: Are kids today just users? (6 Sep, 2018)

Postby hagfish » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:24 pm

I think children still want to employ 'effort' and feed their curiosity. The tech might have changed over the years - maybe it's become more 'abstracted' - but the desire is still there. Instead of working together to build huts in the garden, they build fortresses together in Minecraft.

People have been wringing of hands and bemoaning the 'youth of today' ever since young Thag didn't want to knapp flints any more, because the tribe now had access to bronze, and mathematics. These days, Instead of tinkering with integrated circuits, kids are tinkering with software that runs on lower-level software, that runs on OS software, that runs on integrated circuits...in the Cloud.

Maybe one day soon, there will be demand for 'lower-level' skills once more. Not so much cleaning carburetors, or soldering integrated circuits, as knapping flints...
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Re: Are kids today just users? (6 Sep, 2018)

Postby Hiro Protagonist » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:30 pm

aardvark_admin wrote:Have we lost our curiosity?

Are kids today simply "users" of technology and have they lost the desire to peek inside, see what's going on and understand the inner-workings?

I don't think so. For every kid like you & me back in those days, there were dozens who were just 'users', and frankly, I don't think that's a bad thing.

It's great that some people can do stuff & make things, but I don't get the compulsion some have to get everyone to be like this. OK, sure, after the apocalypse, we'll be living the [comparatively] good life, and they'll starve to death in the cold, but I'm pretty sure it's always been thus.

We expect everyone to read, but do we expect everyone to write books? Truth is if everyone wrote books, 99.9% of them would be a waste of paper.
Lots of people listen to the radio, but do we expect everyone to be able to build one?
Lots of people eat bread & jam, but how many people can make their own these days?
Almost everyone drives a car, but how many people even understand enough to do their own repairs?

Why do some people think that every kid needs to learn to code but not to be an author, electronic engineer, baker or backyard mechanic?

Far better to let kids find what they're good at in life than trying to push anyone in a direction they're not suited for. Figuring out what to do with the ones who just turn out to be a waste of oxygen left as an exercise for the reader...
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Re: Are kids today just users? (6 Sep, 2018)

Postby Perry » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:52 pm

R I P
Sense of Curiosity
Here lies 99% of the population.

How long will it be before there's an under-bonnet seal that says:
no user serviceable parts under here.
Breaking this seal with void the warranty.
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Re: Are kids today just users? (6 Sep, 2018)

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:52 am

Perry wrote:R I P
Sense of Curiosity
Here lies 99% of the population.

How long will it be before there's an under-bonnet seal that says:
no user serviceable parts under here.
Breaking this seal with void the warranty.

I am fairly sure we got there nearly 20 years ago. Independent garages are dying out, they simply don't have access to the specilised tools needed to service modern cars. If they do get access it will only be for one manufacturer as the cost of acquiring and maintaining these tools are too high to get more than one.

Also it has always been a relatively small section of the population who are curious about the world around them, just look around you see it at all ages. When our children were babies there were always some which just laid back staring out to nothing waiting for their parents to engage them somehow, others would be watching, listening and when able to move exploring what was around them. In classrooms some kids listen and engage with the teachers, others sit back and wait for the minutes to tick by. At work you see it as well, those who punch the clock and go home to watch the latest episode of 'The Block'.
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