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Children Envision the Future of Technology

August 27, 2010, 3:29 PM
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It's often said that children are the designers of humanity's future. International research consultancy Latitude and ReadWriteWeb decided to take the adage literally, asking children to envision the future of technology.

The Children's 'Future Requests' for Computers and the Internet study (PDF summary here) asked kids to illustrate their wish-list for the things and activities technology would make possible, taking advantage of children's fresh and uninhibited minds, active imagination, and inherent tendency to be creative problem-solvers. The findings offer a surprising – or, perhaps, unsurprising – reflection of some of the latest and greatest obsessions of the adult-world technorati: augmented reality, 3D, responsive environments, gestural interfaces.

Among the more interesting wish-list items is the notion of "The Internet of Things" – physical everyday objects connected via sensors in a fluid network of digital information. (On a related aside, RWW has an excellent roundup of the top 10 videos explaining the concept.) This shows the blurring line between the digital and analog worlds, driven largely by the blurring line between our digital and analog selves – something particularly relevant for this generation of digital natives, who grow up joined at the neuron with their computer screen and mobile device.

I'd like it if my computer could convert images or food and make them real." ~ Joanna, Age 10

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Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.

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