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The Next Generation's Problem

Vitnira

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Glassdoor Economic Research shows Gen Zers are happiest in creative, non-technical roles.
So they want to have a job that requires no skill and lets them do whatever the fuck they want? Duh.

The top 3 ranked jobs were Corporate Recruiter, Marketing Manager, and Social Media Manager. They want to stay stuck in the big corpo algo hellhole they grew up in because it's all they know and all they think they're good at (do they actually understand the psychological mechanisms at play and how to strategize with the algo? maybe some, but probably not much above an intuitive level). Unsurprising, but sad.

This can be extended to Gen Z and technology. Being the "digital natives" means they are already surrounded by these layers of complexity and lack of deeper understanding and will feel the pressure to stack onto such complexity most likely needlessly because thats the world they have been nurtured into. It of course wont look like that trough mobile app esque interfaces even in our holy desktops and hyper friendly UI, but beneath the surface its going to a shitshow worthy of the definition of ya modern soydev. The advancement of their times i feel will look grand and frequent, but its all just going to be the same cake with ever more layers of frosting
I don't have much experience with Gen X outside of my job (so I'm ovbs dealing with highly techy GenX), but within my software dev job I feel like an idiot even though I grew up on a computer. They discuss spending their teens coding vector graphics on Apple IIs, I kinda played around with C++. They tell me the motivation was that back then things were so simple you could genuinely create new video games about as good as professional companies with the time and effort. To basically use a computer was more difficult too: figuring out what combination of drivers and dependencies needed to get things working. Hell, some of the retro computers booted into a BASIC shell where you had to sort of learn code to do anything. Now, things are so complex and so easy to use, there's less motivation.

I think that drives a lot of the difficulty with the newest generation. One skill of software dev is Figuring Shit Out. It's googling and trying random stuff until it works. I cut my teeth on pirating, modding Morrowind/Oblivion, The Sims, cracking my Wii. It was made easy, sure, but I had motivation and reason to break things and get myself out of tech fuckery and it's given me the basics for that skill. Where does Gen Z have the opportunity to break stuff and Figure Shit Out? Tech is *too* easy, too sanitized.

Maybe with AI they'll have the opportunity to play around with it and break it. AI hackers have the greatest chance to be the visionaries of Gen Z.
 
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RisingThumb

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Glassdoor Economic Research shows Gen Zers are happiest in creative, non-technical roles.
So they want to have a job that requires no skill and lets them do whatever the fuck they want? Duh.
This underlies another point. I challenge people to come up with a good definition of "art" and a good definition of "creative". The reason both are "difficult" to define, is contemporary art has gone through a process of redefining what creative and art means multiple times, to the point it basically means whatever you want it to mean. And people wonder why so much art is ugly and crap, and why so many creatives aren't creative, but just frauds.
things are so complex and so easy to use, there's less motivation
Actually I disagree on the "so easy to use". It's easy to use if you're doing anything with an intended user experience, and it's difficult to use where the user experience has labelled that the "unhappy path" and tries to throw you back into the intended user experience. This probably ties into how the developer experience is rarely the user experience- and it probably ties into how old computers were used by developers or a handful of users(alongside user manuals which were comprehensive... like a car's manual). They were treated as technical tools, like a dremel, which required a manual. And of those users... used in very discrete and specific purposes not like all purpose computers.
Maybe with AI they'll have the opportunity to play around with it and break it. AI hackers have the greatest chance to be the visionaries of Gen Z.
AI as it stands, is just a predictive model- like a (much more complicated) markov chain. See my previous comments about AI. Regardless, what does AI Hacking get you? The hard part of an AI is creating and training the model, not using it- so anyone can(and if you go looking plenty of people have!) made AI models that compete with the status quo AI like ChatGPT and Dall-E etc. It's good in any space where the output should be predictable, but a prerequisite to prediction, is it being done before, which tells you that AI use is doing menial, repetitive things. Good-ish to automate away... but then this is just me saying there's a space for people who will write software using AI for automation, not so for AI hacking(which returning to my question, what does it get you and what really is hacked here?).

The other thing about it being good-ish, is that automated outputs are rarely great outputs. I believe this also applies to standard engineering, as creating things to extreme tolerances is fundamentally harder to automate, requires more oversight and requires quality assurances. And on the point of quality assurances, anyone who remembers the days of servers giving guarantees of "5 nine uptime"(99.999% uptime) probably laments that nowadays it's jokingly called "nine 5s uptime"(55.5555555%), so all this automation around complexity- the automation kills the knowledge and when it breaks, you lose reliability too as a quality.

Maybe I'm grumpy, but standards are dropping all the time everywhere.
 
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Maybe I'm grumpy, but standards are dropping all the time everywhere.
"no kid left behind", dont let me start.... > the pretense of "critical thinking" - well yeah, you learn to parrot "right answers", but then what? suuure, you can learn reading comprehension, but what of it, when all you read is elementary school (grade 5-8 cca), so your "skill" is now useless!?
This underlies another point. I challenge people to come up with a good definition of "art" and a good definition of "creative". The reason both are "difficult" to define, is contemporary art has gone through a process of redefining what creative and art means multiple times, to the point it basically means whatever you want it to mean. And people wonder why so much art is ugly and crap, and why so many creatives aren't creative, but just frauds.
quick bucks
same way the mattraces shops used to be(?)
 
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Vitnira

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This underlies another point. I challenge people to come up with a good definition of "art" and a good definition of "creative". The reason both are "difficult" to define, is contemporary art has gone through a process of redefining what creative and art means multiple times, to the point it basically means whatever you want it to mean. And people wonder why so much art is ugly and crap, and why so many creatives aren't creative, but just frauds.
Yep...hence why the discussion of AI art is so heated.
Here, I feel like the desire of Gen Z to be "creative" isn't a genuine desire to be creative (in general, anyway).

Actually I disagree on the "so easy to use". It's easy to use if you're doing anything with an intended user experience, and it's difficult to use where the user experience has labelled that the "unhappy path" and tries to throw you back into the intended user experience. This probably ties into how the developer experience is rarely the user experience- and it probably ties into how old computers were used by developers or a handful of users(alongside user manuals which were comprehensive... like a car's manual). They were treated as technical tools, like a dremel, which required a manual. And of those users... used in very discrete and specific purposes not like all purpose computers.
The Happy Path in most of the apps Gen Z is using is so artfully crafted someone raised on the platform can't even imagine using the Unhappy Path. You're right in that "easy to use" is an incorrect statement here. The modern user experience is manipulative and exploitative and strongly discourages independent thought. Scary to think Gen Z's life experience is molded by it. In contrast, like you note here, the "here's your manual figure it tf out" is more difficult but allows for the user to design their own experience and discover their own Happy Path. That's far more encouraging of independent thought.

AI as it stands, is just a predictive model- like a (much more complicated) markov chain. See my previous comments about AI. Regardless, what does AI Hacking get you?
It's about what AI Hacking will teach the user. Right now all the top of the line AI have safeguards to prevent you from doing anything fun. But as 4chan has shown, with the right prompting you can get Bing to show you hyper-realistic RBG getting sodomized by the devil. The safeguards will be the incentive to pick apart the AI. The tech leaders of Gen Z (or more likely, Gen Whatever-The-Hell's-Next) will pick apart the AI to get hilarious jailbroken content the same way older generations took apart watches. Right now many in control of Facebook, Youtube etc. have no idea how their own algorithms work. A generation raised hacking AI has the potential to fully grok these AI in a way that we can't. The pessimist will say "great, they'll be the new ones in charge of the dystopia", but I'll prefer to have hope that this generation could be the Punks our Cyberpunk dystopia needs and break us out of the algo chains we've created.

Of course no only is this purely speculative and pie-in-the-sky, but 99% of the AI gen will be incompetent weaklings worse off than the older end of Gen Z.
 
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RisingThumb

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Right now many in control of Facebook, Youtube etc. have no idea how their own algorithms work.
I'm going to make a point here that I've noticed more and more. The word algorithm, is probably the incorrect word here- since an algorithm is some series of instructions that with one input gives the same output. If you've read Donald Knuth's Art of Computer Programming(which is full of algorithms) you'll get an idea of this- instead algorithm has become this sort of propagandised word. Instead they know the end results they want(people spending more of their time on their platform), but what they don't know is the heuristics the model they are using is taking to get there... and even heuristic probably isn't the right word either since heuristics are chosen by people to reduce cognitive overload and are often just plucked out of thin air. I don't know what word would better describe this- but I know algorithm isn't the right word. As a result of it, people are ending up with a poisoned idea of what an algorithm is.

Routine perhaps? An algorithm has a well defined outcome(and "random" ones are really just seeded ones) and well defined problem. Not all routines have a well defined outcome, or a well defined problem. But then that word doesn't have quite the air of propagandised terror as "THE Algorithm" does it? Then again routine also already suffers from being badly defined and only really used informally
 
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Routine perhaps? An algorithm has a well defined outcome(and "random" ones are really just seeded ones) and well defined problem. Not all routines have a well defined outcome, or a well defined problem. But then that word doesn't have quite the air of propagandised terror as "THE Algorithm" does it? Then again routine also already suffers from being badly defined and only really used informally
filter
sieve
sorter
propagation
outflow
endgoal
 
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I'm a '97 Zoomer.

I'd like to step away from the anti-Zoomer theories I see posted about my generations lack of digital understanding.

I think my critique boils down to technical competency, while being a teachable skill, existing in equal parts across generations.
I also think generations are great for selling the next goyslop flavor - not great for determining if a given person knows what a mouse is.

On the whole I think people seriously overestimate how technical daily 9-5 computer users are.
I've done thousands of hours of tech support for people across generations and again I don't see a throughline. Normies don't think about computers like nerds do and never have - Zoomer, Xoomer, Boomer, alike.

You can see this clearly when you move and icon on a normies desktop. They don't have a memory map of the various metaphors for "desktop" or "icon", the way they interact with the computer is in the most wrote, memorized way possible.

Why then are Zoomers seemingly being overrepresented when it comes to technical incompetency?
My theory is you can simply no longer hide it. Even 10 years ago you could probably still find some jobs that didn't require computer knowledge - now? It's mandatory. You don't get to slowly onboard to the technology either - like most normies of years prior had the privilege of.
 
Well done OP - this is some good stuff.

Just to add in a bit of my own anecdotal bit: in the role of employment for various jobs, I'm shocked how many people of my generation and younger just plain don't know how to use some technology. I would think, solely based off my perceptions and experiences with the world that the younger the generation, the more equipped - but I think tech has dumbed down many people because it got so streamlined. A sort of art of exploration is lost, and with it, the actual understanding of technology.
I'm part of that niche, mainly because I grew up using Microsoft Office, desktop interfaces, and later learning about Windows and Linux file directories as a teen. I can say for some like me it's not just phones, but all technology in general now. I've been actively sticking with older (legacy) technology simply because I have more control over what I'm using. This is one of the largest differences I have with others in my age group. I don't care if something is "easier to use" or "used by the rest of my peers", if it doesn't let me use it how I want to I'm not using it if I can. To me the current state of technological progress is hellish because most of the developments have been privacy invading and confusing to use. Even worse is that these developments have slowly been becoming the only way to use something over the last 9ish years. It's infuriating to use a service that offers signing up with Apple, Google, etc, but doesn't give an option for you to sign up with an Email address... And that's not bring up the privacy concerns with many tech products, platforms, etc from the last decade. The fact that in many cases I have to consent to corpos watching me and selling the data if I want to use a platform is enough on its own for me to not use something.
In short:
0f8.png

Source: https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/001/486/992/0f8.png
I'm glad you brought this up. I've noticed the lack of control constantly being removed. For some parts (GUI for example) I'm all for it, because it often leads to a better experience. But even important settings are being removed entirely (see routers 10 years ago vs now).
 
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fakeness: wtf happened in 2010s that people now support rich people/monopolies? (not all irl, but on interent, most of normies), like they ever care, provide something... they do, but we surely could do better (ok, id stop here and wait away my black parade 20-sec phase...)
 
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ReadItMyGuy67

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This is something that drives me up the wall too. Every new technology these days (save for AI and stuff), is basically just layering useless abstraction on abstraction. I mean, it makes sense though. When you've already got most stuff developed, the only way to "innovate" (if it can be called that) is to abstract it more.

Cars, concrete verse asphalt (money)

The way I see it, trying to change this flow is like painting on a roaring river. Instead of trying to get everyone to change and annoyed when they don't, you just need to create your own things that conform to your own beliefs, rather than bowing down to those of others. Creation is the most powerful weapon. Use it.
This is a excellent way of looking at!

And concerning the essay, I think that it was very well written. I am pretty shocked by the numbers, I can say that I pretty much fit into the margins of what you had to say about gen z. However everyday I am looking to improve and gain knowledge, that is why I am thankful to have access to communities like this. I really appreciate how much people go out of their way to write something this well thought out.
 
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