When an organism is threatened or in danger, it learns to adapt to environmental circumstances or risk annihilation. And when a living creature is forced to live through a challenging period early on, the change in circumstance greatly impacts the youngling’s behavior and survival strategy, which remains with it until the organism's expiration. This analogy directly relates to what Gen Z is currently experiencing: an alteration in behavior and strategy as a result of Coronavirus crisis pressures. More concretely, what we are seeing is the evolution and formulation of Gen Z into what I like to call The Careful Generation (or CG). The CG is defined by increased vigilance with regards to potential malice that might not only inflicted by future biological threats, but also by Dark AI and other Smart Actors, and a large emphasis on the global digital safety framework.
The CG will have massive implications for progress on the front of explainable AI (XAI), the creation of decentralized city structures to spread crisis risk, as well as artificial intelligence policy-making and legislative initiatives to mitigate the potential of future digital catastrophe. Moreover, Gen Z is already more careful than previous generations. According to a report by Figaro Digital:
“… Gen Z are already self-regulating their digital footprint. They are much savvier about the importance and value of their data and privacy online, with 87 per cent of respondents to the survey considering their data security more important than online popularity. Additionally, an overwhelming 60 per cent of respondents actively wouldn’t share their location with their favourite brands. Although, if the value exchange and proposition to Gen Z is right, then the willingness to share data is apparent.”
So, what exactly does the up and coming Careful Generation has in store for XAI, decentralization, and AI law? Let’s break it down:
1. The CG’s Impact on The Decentralization of Cities
In an earlier article, I wrote about how the concept of a centralized city structure is foolish, archaic and should be replaced. “In the absence of today’s instant communication and delivery services, ancient civilizations like the Greeks invented the concept of the centralized Polis (or city state) in order to maintain commerce, policy, governance, and various citizen services. But because of our modern ability to decentralize with IoT, we no longer need cities––in fact, they're dangerous. For example, cities are what cause viral epicenters, cities are what cause massive economic debts in light of ruin, cities are what drive pollution, etc.” Moreover, another piece I wrote alluded to how Gen Z will likely steer clear of cities, as their housing preferences have been uprooted due to the pandemic. An excerpt from the article states:
“I guess I never really had an opinion on living in cities versus urban and rural areas until this pandemic hit. It’s definitely making me more conscious about the future and how we will probably have more viruses or something worse, who knows. And I want to stay away from the city as much as I can because of that. Especially if I’m going to have a family.”
Therefore, Gen Z’s alteration in housing preferences and potential deviation from city life shows evidence of the Careful Generation Paradigm.
2. The CG’s Impact on Explainable AI (XAI)
The search to find answers to the Coronavirus mystery has prompted people everywhere to raise questions about the pandemic. People are demanding explanations from the medical community, but to no avail. This web of confusion that has clouded information and decision-making processes will have a significant impact on Generation Z and the making of the CG. Gen Z is known as the “True Gen” and prioritizes the core values of transparency, accountability, and honesty. In light of the murkiness that COVID-19 has caused, Gen Z will only demand more emphasis on the truth, which will serve as a direct input into XAI implementations. The CG realizes that without XAI, another pandemic or worse is bound to occur in the future. Therefore, the CG will do all that it can to bolster efforts on the XAI frontier.
3. The CG’s Impact on AI Policy Making
The Careful Generation’s push towards XAI will also serve as a flagship input towards AI policy making frameworks. As Gen Z begins to enter the digital economy on an increasing scale, this new demographic will join the digital economy with their clear preferences of transparency and accountability. Moreover, we can expect that as Gen Z-ers become more and more involved with software teams and take lead on algorithm architecture, as well as politics and legislation, there will be both a natural and forced push towards XAI policy, as transparency at all levels of the society will be demanded. Therefore, everything will proceed with caution and human wellness in mind.
The Careful Generation is here, and will demand an increased focus towards creating a safe global digital framework.