What My Daughter Taught Me About The Future Of Technology

What My Daughter Taught Me About The Future Of Technology

Microsoft's storyteller, Steve Clayton, weaves a tale about what he has been able to learn from his own child's explorations of new technologies.

Steve Clayton, Microsoft
  • 23 july 2011

I’ve been telling a story lately (apt given my job title is storyteller) about the use of changing landscape of technology in which our children are growing up. My first glimpses at technology as a child were things like huge VHS video recorders and the never ending comedy of coming up with rude words by typing numbers in to a calculator and turning it upside down. The first PC that entered our household ran at 8Mhz and had a 40mb hard disk – I remember writing COBOL programs on that machine for my computer studies class at age 15. Tedious stuff.

Obviously things have moved on and the last 6 months have been a real eye opener in to how the next generation will use, and expect to use technology. In fact they probably won’t think of it as technology and will show far less amazement than my generation did as we held gleaming CD’s in our hands and sent text messages to friends across the world. The next generation will just assume technology is there, much like we do with electricity and they’ll find it far less quirky than they find their parents I expect.

This generational shift has been brought home to me in the last 6 months. As my family and I have settled in to our new home in the US, we’ve become even more connected than we were in the UK. Services such as Netflix have been a welcome complement to the 500 channels (but nothing on) of cable TV and with a 2 year old in the house, the vast catalogue of Barney is a godsend. This leads to my recent story: a few weeks ago my wife was cooking in the kitchen and asked me to turn off Barney as dinner was about to arrive on the table. We stream Netflix from our Xbox so I reached for the controller to hit the Green A button and pause the stream. Crap – the batteries in the controller had expired and I was getting increasing demands to turn that “noise” off. I was about to go in search of two new double A batteries and then remembered I had Kinect hooked up. I simply said “Xbox, pause” and silence descended as Netflix duly responded and paused the stream. My daughter looked up at me, no doubt impressed at my ability to control technology far better than I can control her…

To read further, click here.

Originally published on the Next at Microsoft blog, republished with kind permission.

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