As of this year (2019) the number of mobile phone users is destined to reach a whopping 4.68 billion people, more than half of the world's current population. Considering that 'modern' smartphones only started coming out in mass circulation around the early 2000s, it is safe to assume that a majority of this countless community did not grow up around such technology and instead adapted when these useful handheld tools quickly became synonymous with everyday life.
Indeed, nowadays it is hard to imagine a night out, or even a brief walk down to the coffee shop, without the presence of that alloyed communicator in your pocket or bag. Whether the appeal is social media to catch up on the happenings of your friends, family and favourite celebrities or simple activities such as mobile games to pass the time, they have effectively become an extension of our curious consciousness.
The method I use to distinguish such significant societal impacts is to find out whether the 'impact' in question is a part of a culture, or a brand new culture in itself. Mobile phones have certainly surpassed this test, becoming a portable key into the greater internet wherever you are.
This brings me to my main point of discussion. What would happen when the 'newer' generation of people born from 1995 onwards, who have most likely been pampered and surrounded by technology, making it a natural way of life, start to get into politics and become the dominant population of MPs, PMs and offshore equivalents?
While we can mainly only speculate the impact of this surge, we can be certain that the understanding of technology and the internet will be greatly increased when compared to politicians now. One of my favourite examples for presenting this is the fairly recent Senate hearing of Mark Zuckerberg, which mainly consisted of Mr Zuckerberg having to explain arguably basic processes and workings of the internet and social media to US Senators. Some were baffled as to how Zuckerberg sustains a successful "business model" when he does not charge his users, only to be told he gets income through advertisements, similarly to how most newspapers have been functioning for centuries. Others needed explanations on internet cookies, and some used terminology such as email to describe services on Whatsapp and Facebook.
It is clear that current older politicians have a more minimal understanding of the internet and social media, which tends to resurface memories of your history teacher being valiantly defeated by YouTube autoplay after showing a 2 minute video on a smartboard he hardly knows how to operate.
Moving on, I believe there is one more contemporary example of the mainstream changes that will occur when this generational shift happens, and this can be seen in the tweeting habits of individuals such as Elon Musk and Donald Trump. While it must be said that neither of these people are 'young' by any degree or interpretation, I believe that their style of explosive online expression will only get more popular and mainstream as the years pass. And while Twitter has been around since 2006 I'm sure the prospect of billionaire CEOs tweeting pictures of anime catgirls and others crafting what's essentially an entire political manifesto on the platform is relatively new to the social network.
Even with these probabe changes, it remains impossible to predict how more technologically aware politicans will operate and what their various stances will be. Maybe technology will continue moving at a crazy speed? Maybe in 40 or so years my generation will be considered the old politicians struggling to keep up with the newest technological fad?
What is certain is that technology no doubt grows alongside us, and no two generations experience it quite in the same way, the rest is for time to tell.