Windows 10: Z Generation is When Everything Will Change.

By Rob Enderle July 24, 2015

I started looking at the new Windows 10 ads and it got me thinking about how much change we will have seen that the next generation of Windows users will have no concept of.  Things that seem kind of amazing to my generation will be common place, or even obsolete, by the time kids born now reach high school age.  

In the context of the Windows 10 launch, let’s talk about what the kids being born now will likely take for granted that we think is amazing. 

Looking Back

When I was growing up it was hard to imagine that my grandparents had seen cars and airplanes emerge.  My parents, the Silent age (born from 1928 to 1945) had seen the TV, telephone, and radio come to market but took cars mostly for granted.  My generation, 1946 to 1964, the boomers, got to see color television, Disneyland, jets, and air conditioning.  The Generation X from 1965 to 1980 grew up with terminals, saw people land on the moon, and had a vastly better grasp of technology because both parents often worked, so they had to take care of themselves.  And, of course the generation Y Millennials have a birth date range of 1981 to around 2010, and they saw PCs, the space shuttle, smartphones, and tablets come to market. We are living in the millennial world at the moment.  Generation Z begins around 2010.  

Generation Z

The oldest of these kids are still only 6 years old and by the time they are replaced in 2025 by Generation Alpha they will see some amazing things evolve during their term.   Let’s talk about some of them.

Virtual/Augmented Reality:  While still in their infancy, the Generation Z kids will mostly grow up with AR and VR as accepted ways to travel the

Image via Shutterstock

world, interact with it, and innovate.  Whether they are playing games or designing the next orbital rocket VR and AR will be in their tool kits as they build the world virtually and physically from their imaginations.  There is a good chance they won’t need to travel being able to virtually plug in to anyplace they want to go and feel they are there.   They will question mass transit because everything they need should be right there at home.  

Cut Cables:  The idea of waiting to watch a program will be foreign to them.  Having grown up as cable cutters and streaming video they will take watching a program when they want to watch it for granted.  They’ll grow up watching their programs on tablets and cell phones and many may look at TVs like we look at tube radios, and prior generations looked at record players like they were archaic museum pieces.  

Never Learn To Drive:  The oldest won’t reach driving age for 10 years, and by then driving will be less of an option, most will likely decide they don’t need to learn to drive.  In addition, many will likely decide they don’t need a car using car services (that use self-driving cars) to take them where they want to go.  Today with services like Uber and Lift, kids are already deciding that maybe they don’t need to own a car and drive.  When those services go self-driving there will be an even greater incentive to avoid car ownership.

Never be disconnected.  Kids are already fully connected as they move around cities but as we move to next decade the coverage will only get stronger and their electronic gadgets will translate for them (no more language classes), navigate for them (reading a map will become obsolete), and advise them on what they will eat and buy.  They’ll likely be closer to tools like Siri and Cortana in their future state than they are to their parents and siblings.  

Entire categories of jobs will be deemed unprofitable for humans to do.   While clearly there will be new jobs many of the old manual labor, heavy equipment operation (including driving of course), and navigation will be passed over to robots.  People, at least those in developed nations, won’t be competitive any more than the Well Fargo wagons could compete with trains and trucks in their day.  

Wrapping Up:  Be Nice To Your Kids. 

The Windows 10 ads talk about how kids will interact with voice command, never need passwords,  and have access to technology that is just now coming to market with this version but by the time the Alpha generation is old enough to drive this is just a small fraction of the change they’ll see. They will do things their parents and grandparents have never dreamed of so you’d better treat them nice otherwise there won’t be anyone around to tell you how to run your then new electronics.   

Edited by Maurice Nagle

President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group

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