We have had the Greatest Generation, then Baby Boomers , then Generation X, then the Millenials. However, people are still wondering what to call the generation born in the 21st century. I suggest the moniker “Generation App.” Why? Because, this generation is being raised surrounded by the information economy, and with the ubiquity of smart phones, it is an economy based on the production and accumulation of apps.
It is a generation for whom many social interactions are mediated through an app interface. They are also the generation that will find its peak during Kurzweil’s so-called “singularity” , where artificial intelligence may supersede natural intelligence. It is also a time when the meaning of being a person is changing, as is seen by Supreme Court decisions assigning the rights of natural persons to corporations. It is a time of high-speed trading where computer algorithms take the role of traders and decision makers. In other words, the individuals of this generation will be identified by their apps. Indeed, one could argue the concepts of spirit and soul are nothing other than algorithm and application.
This should be no surprise. Consider how at death an individual can leave a will. What is a will? It is a set of instruction for the disposal of material assets, including intellectual property. An algorithm is nothing other than a set of instructions. Consider how we understand work as applying oneself to a task. What is an application? It is a set of algorithms that can be applied to a task.
It is this generation that will determine the future of humanity through a cyber-world. Whether one is ruler of the apps, or ruled by apps, we are seeing the evolution from homo sapiens to homo applicus. We are truly turning into the planet of the apps.