Digital Natives and our inevitable assimilation

Regarding the Prensky article, “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants,” I’m going to explore some things I didn’t get to on other classmates’ blogs.

That we have two types of digital denizens is of crucial importance to our digital culture. I think that we have an equilibrium that is going to steadily shift over the coming decades as the last of the immigrants dissipate through … let’s just call it attrition. With each year, the number of natives will rapidly increase while the number of immigrants will steadily decrease. (Aside: in what other scenario could the immigrants ever get out-numbered?)
I think this will have a steadily freeing effect on our digital communications. This isn’t to say that the immigrants have a chilling effect by intent, but rather by necessity does the digital landscape have to not take some things for granted. As our culture becomes vastly dominated by the native (those who’ve never not had a digital life), the inherent mistrust of those things digital will abate. That you have a Facebook account (or whatever our future equivalents will be) or maintain a significant online presence would be considered a default assumption. Accommodation for the disinclined at first will wane, and eventually will be rare.
In short order, we’ll be as accustomed to our lives with a completely integrated digital self, it will be practically like existing in multiple dimensions at once and we won’t even notice.
And this will be one of several gateways to full cybernetic augmentation. And this will start off another dichotomy: The Integrated Natives & Integrated Immigrants. But I digress…
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Posted on September 22, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I'm curious what further cultural changes are in store for us as digital natives become the dominant population. I mean, David Lynch and his loathing of the iPhone as a device for movie-viewing can't live forever, right? So, what happens to our more established media that are already "under fire" as some might say from various and sundry online technologies? And then, what happens to us as a result?

  2. How about this analogy? In my teenage years, if you got pregnant, you either got married or gave it up for adoption. No abortions. No raising it on your own. But, any choice you made was always tempered with people judging you for having gotten pregnant in the first place. Currently, single parenthood is a choice and hardly anyone gets up in arms, unless the parents are really young. Some segments of society may still judge, but most people are content to let you be miserable but pretty much accepted. Our future culture will change, but that's a given. There will always be a few Luddites around, so in 20 years we'll laugh at them. In 35-40 years, we'll just shake our heads and get on with life without another thought.

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