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I Am Google Lady: A Child's Guide to Avoiding Obsolescence

Doug Collins - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Google Maps gets me from point A to point B. I use the service a lot. 

My three-year-old daughter, snapped into her back seat, is a captive audience for Google Maps' turn-by-turn guidance. A female voice, articulate and insistent, delivers the directions through the speaker of my iPhone, bolstering my confidence that I am going the best way. 

Recently, while hiking in a local park, my daughter announced to my wife and me that she was, effective immediately, "Google lady." 

"I'm Google lady. Follow me."

She then proceeded to give us turn-by-turn directions through the forest. 

We never got lost. Her estimated time to destination--a consistent "20 minutes, guys"--was a bit off. She lacked the satellite navigation her AI counterpart enjoys. 

The proliferation of technology affects us profoundly. As new technologies enter our lives, our worldview changes. Our conversations change. Our points of reference shift. 

My daughter is Google lady in a way that earlier generations of children might have embraced being their hiking companions' compass or map or North Star. Reading a compass or map will seem prosaic: something to be studied through the glass case of a museum. 

Wondering whether a technology has crossed the chasm? Wondering whether a technology has been made obsolete? Pay attention to what the three-year-old’s in your life are saying: they know without knowing because they've known nothing else. Google's future seems secure for a generation. 

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