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CONVERGE | Technology

7 Things your kids probably won’t have to do thanks to tech

June 25, 2018

Driving, typing, spelling and other skills that our kids may never have to learn.


By: Kieran Alger
Technology brings change, hopefully improving lives for the better. With every wave of change, daily activities that were once second nature to one generation are suddenly superseded by new normals that make the youth of Planet Earth wonder why the ‘oldies’ ever did it like that in the first place. Sending letters, watching scheduled television shows and having to look up facts in big books called encyclopedias are just a few examples.

But in 2018, it feels like things are changing faster than ever. It’s becoming clear that kids born this side of 2010 are set to benefit from incredible technological breakthroughs at a rate we’ve not experienced before. That means more tasks we’ve long taken for granted are about to be consigned to the trash can of human life. Here are a handful of things your kids and grandkids may not have to do anymore.

1. Type Text

Remember the blood, sweat and tears of trying to write cursive or the struggles of handwritten note taking in class? Yeah, well that’s all seemingly in the past now that texting, typing and tweeting has now taken over. Schools in Finland even dropped writing lessons in favor of keyboard skills in 2015.

Kids shouldn’t get too comfortable with touchscreen typing either, as voice-activated AI assistants like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana are already taking over. More than a billion voice searches are made every month and 50 percent of all searches are predicted to be voice activated by 2020. This is really big data, and combined with better machine learning, it’s anticipated that these numbers are only set to increase more rapidly.

2. Hunt for the Remote

Channel changer. Remote Control. Whatever your home calls it, we all know and live by the special importance of the remote control. Whoever has it holds the power, while losing it down the back of the couch or anywhere else is a crime against the household. Nowadays, some remotes are more than just buttons.

Voice control, like the voice search Cox offers via its cutting edge Contour remote control, is also paving the way for us to control our televisions with spoken commands. Using the dedicated mic button for a speech prompt is rather neat when you want to find a specific movie, TV show or YouTube video without typing in the title.

3. Learn to Drive

Today’s children may have to wave goodbye to that traditional teenage rite of passage – ripping up your learner’s permit in celebration after finally passing your driving test. Self-driving, automated automobiles are here to stay and are currently being trialled in multiple states with little resistance from the federal government, proving that they are well on their way to becoming the dominant force in future mobility. That could mean your kids may never need to take their driving test.

We could also be closing in on the end of car ownership as we know it if ideas like Uber’s driverless car service take off. Speaking of taking off, we don’t need roads where we’re going either, now that people are flying around in autonomous drones like it’s Blade Runner 2047.

4. Learn to Spell

Autocorrect has put many a quick texter into all sorts of hilarious situations with awkward and comically misspelled messages. Technologies like machine learning and AI are not only eliminating spelling blunders, but perhaps the need for us to learn how to spell at all .

5. Use an ATM

We’ve already reached the stage where it seems slightly old fashioned to pay for things with cash. While we’re all drowning in a deluge of ATM card PIN numbers, the likelihood is that your beloved young ones will never know the pain of endless ATM queues ever again.

Apple Pay and Google Pay have already made it easy to flash a smartphone vaguely in the direction of cashier or pay for everything online with facial recognition. And now, Amazon Go is taking digital payments to the friction-free next level. Simply scan an app, grab your groceries and walk out the store. No more checkout lines… in theory anyway. Next up: Allowances paid in cryptocurrency, perhaps?

6. House-Hunt in Person

The rise of virtual reality real estate means your children could make one of the biggest and most important purchases of their lives without ever actually visiting a property. Welcome to house hunting on easy street, where being dragged from pillar to post by pushy realtors is a thing of the past. You can slip on an Oculus Rift instead and view homes anywhere in the world in the time it takes to cook dinner, or even while you cook dinner.

Augmented reality is playing its part too. Ikea already lets us place virtual furniture around the house so we can digitally try before we buy. The idea of visiting stores could soon start to look like a peculiar waste of a Saturday afternoon.

7. Answer the Door to the Mailman

It seems unthinkable that we’d willingly let complete strangers into our home when we’re not there, but Amazon Key marks the beginning of a new era where we rely on smart locks from Yale and Kwikset, connected security cameras from Nest and Ring – and an element of trust – to let couriers in when we’re out.

Given this capability comes a full 12 years after the launch of Amazon Prime, in another 12 years we can only assume the next generation will grow up with an army of robots delivering their dry cleaned, smart city-connected graphene suits – after all, they can already open doors.

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