Generation Alpha are the first generation of children born after artificial intelligence became capable of performing most tasks better than humans. Gen Alphas have never known life without AI. As a result, they have very different outlooks on life and work than previous generations.
Inevitably, these different outlooks affect how these children interact with technology and the workforce around them. Changing technologies and rapidly evolving business models have often created disruption to established industries, such as how Uber has disrupted transportation, but this is just the beginning.
The impact of Gen Alpha on responsible AI will likely be more profound than any other generation that came before it. Here's how.
Because Gen Alphas have grown up with machines that can outperform them at just about anything, they do not place the same value on intelligence as previous generations. Rather than basing their lives around learning and knowledge, these members of Generation Alpha are increasingly placing value on subjective matters like happiness and fulfillment. Consequently, education is increasingly tailored towards promoting well-being rather than knowledge, and degrees are increasingly less emphasized.
Most people today would rather have a job that they enjoy than one that pays more, which means fewer go into STEM fields, and an increasing number of companies will not hire workers in these fields. Thus, the demand for AI professionals who can develop safe and ethical AI is much higher than the supply.
However, Gen Alphas are not only different in their values, but also in their priorities. For example, they may be less concerned with owning physical objects like cars since they spend enough time online that these possessions are no longer considered essential for life.
In the future, it will be difficult for companies to target Gen Alphas with marketing because their attention is divided between online ads and everything else. This may be a boon to older generations who feel overwhelmed by excessive advertising and other interruptions.
Thus far, we've seen that Generation Alpha has different values and priorities than older generations. But they also have different values and priorities than each other. As a result, the same product or service may appeal to some but not others in this generation.
This is just one of the difficulties that companies will face when trying to reach Generation Alpha with targeted advertising. A company's brand needs to be consistent across all platforms where it appears, otherwise it appears to be inauthentic.
For example, Generation Alpha may believe that all products should be "fair-trade" and therefore buy only ethically-sourced chocolate bars instead of Hershey's. This mindset can affect where they shop for clothing, what software they use at work, which social media platforms they use and more.
The flip side of this is that Generation Alpha may ignore a company if it doesn't offer ethical products or practices, even if they are less expensive or provide better service than their competitors.
A Willingness to Take Risks
Perhaps the biggest difference between Gen Alphas and previous generations is how willing they are to take risks and try new experiences. This is because the development of technology in their lifetime has caused them to grow up with a much more dynamic and fast-paced world than previous generations.
This has lead them to be less risk-averse when making decisions, likely because they've seen plenty of mistakes made by humans due to their fallibility. If a mistake is made, it can be undone or corrected much more quickly with the help of technology.
Partly as a result of this mindset, Gen Alphas are comfortable changing jobs and moving to new cities many times throughout their lives. The average Generation Alpha may have worked at over five different companies over the course of ten years.
A More Diverse World
Since Gen Alphas are more aware of racial, ethnic and gender issues than previous generations, they may be less likely to view people in terms of stereotypes. They also see the world as a smaller place thanks to advances in communication technology, allowing them to interact with people across the globe at any time.
For companies, this means that Generation Alpha is more likely to support political and social movements that favor equality. If they believe their favorite company does not share these values, they may be less inclined to buy its products.
When consumers are aware of how a product or service impacts the world around them, they have many more considerations to take into account than simply the price and quality of a product. Companies must think carefully about all aspects of their business if they want to appeal to Generation Alpha.
As we've seen, Generation Alpha is more diverse than previous generations and holds different values that can complicate marketing strategies for companies looking to reach them with targeted ads. This new generation is more connected to the world around them and is more likely to question societal norms.
Generation Alpha has a heightened awareness of where products come from, how they impact the environment and society, and whether or not companies share their values. Since these children have grown up in a world where technology continually evolves, they are comfortable with change and willing to take risks.
The members of Generation Alpha are among the most diverse and interesting people to have been born in recent history. Marketers will be able to connect with this group through ads that share the companies' values while also appealing to a desire for new experiences. If a company can effectively advertise its product or service while being socially responsible, it may be able to attract Generation Alpha as customers.