Cacophony was the word that came to mind this morning as I pondered the swift change occurring in our times.
No longer is there a yearning for the days captured by Norman Rockwell, nor even the soothing and settling recall of such days, unless perhaps triggered by AI as information is sought out by way of a few quick questions on a Google search!
I was intrigued this week as I took notice of just how rapidly that has become my preference. What Google used to provide as multiple options per any online inquiry can now be quickly consolidated by way of an AI generated response.
Not that I want to sound like one of my aging former students, himself an ultra conservative millennial, who posted a picture of Jesus doing a cartwheel over a table. He labeled his Facebook image as "AI's image of Jesus flipping over the tables in the temple". He did get this somewhat theologically grounded Boomer's attention!
AI is an amazing tool for the quick review of volumes of material, and based upon one's ability to sequentially frame pointed questions, can make any young writer sound really impressive. It provides an exposure to materials, as well as citations of sources that would otherwise take decades to access, let alone master, if personal review of hard copy were the means of one's search.
The question I am asking is intended with all candor, simply to help me understand and take comfort if possible, with where all this is leading.
I know this may be sounding like criticism, though unintended as such. As an avid reader, with three degrees and usually at least two, if not three books in process at any given time, both hard copy and digital (by the way, I am the master of run-on sentences), where is this taking the psyche of our emerging society?
I posit this question relative to how I was raised, and at the risk of being written off as an old geezer by those with whom I spend the majority of my time, 20-50 year-olds. In fact, one just messaged me and it's now 6:25 on a Saturday morning!
I was fathered by a hard working, relatively life-experience workforce educated, blue collar dad. He himself in only one generation driven by a dream, navigated from an extreme post-depression era poverty, to produce four college educated offspring, all with avenues for their prospering provided by way of American capitalism. We refer to it as "the blessings of the Lord!"
All this noise in my head seems precipitated by an apparent spiritual shift, one now occurring within the six generations now influencing my thought life. Yes, I am blessed to have my Silent Gen Dad still around, approaching age 98 this December. His generation once acclaimed as the Greatest!
Then add to that the privilege of scores of acquaintances in my Boomer life from GenX'ers, Millenials, Z's, and now my Alpha grands.1
That's becoming a justifiable scientific sampling, enough so to create a sense of awe given the rapid change I am sensing!
Then just this morning, I read the article cited below this excerpt:
"Historically, we were told, 'For 20 years you learn, for 30 years you lead, and maybe for 20 years, if you're lucky, if you live this false American dream, then you get to live,'” Ziad Ahmed, founder and CEO of JUV Consulting, a Gen Z consulting firm, said at the Fortune Impact Initiative conference in Atlanta on Wednesday. “Gen Z is taking the microphone back and saying, ‘Hell no. I want to learn, I want to lead, and I want to live simultaneously. And you'll be damned if you tell me otherwise.’”2
Where will this "late capitalism", Institutional doubting, third of the emerging workforce take this "land of the free and home of the brave" nation?
It's not just noise, and we better listen!!
1)Generation Names And Years In Order