Unlike Gen Z, which grew up with computers in the home, Gen Alpha will grow up with computerized homes.
We are all quite familiar with Gen Z, the first true generation of Digital Natives born between 1996 and 2010. But who comes after Gen Z? Allow me to present Gen Alpha, the first true AI Native generation on planet Earth. Generation Alpha is characterized as those born in the timespan of 2013–2024. This means that the oldest Gen Alpha are currently 8 years old. While both Gen Z and Gen Alpha possess much overlap with regards to the digital age, the two groups have their own set of unique features.
Gen Z was born into a world of digital transformation. They witnessed first hand the dawn of the Internet Era, the emergence of Social Networks, and the beginnings of artificial intelligence use cases. This is why Gen Z are called “Digital Natives”. On the other hand, the oldest Gen Alpha were raised in the 2010s, characterized by a mature digital environment, AI Chatbots, smart IoT devices, virtual learning, access to real-time information, and could easily navigate iPhones as toddlers.
We’ve only made a dent into the Gen Alpha timeline so far––countless more infants will join this category until we reach 2024. However, before I go into the future world of Gen Alpha, I would first like to mention the implications of the Covid Pandemic on their adolescent development.
Right now, Gen Alpha are being raised in a world of great turbulence. Though the youngest of the lot (babies and toddlers), may not remember the Pandemic restrictions, it is likely that today’s 8 years olds will. A number of studies have already surfaced with regards to the mental health implications of the lockdown measures on young children. However, changes in human behavior may manifest themselves in Gen Alpha as they grow. Here are my predictions:
How Covid Will Impact Gen Alpha Characteristics
Compliance: when the Pandemic hit, Gen Alpha had no choice but to comply with the restrictions: masking, no playing with friends, social distancing, and isolation. There may have been temper tantrums, but kids had to comply. I believe that as a consequence, Gen Alpha will transform into highly law-abiding citizens and follow all government directives without question.
Resilience: Covid made it so that kids had to suck up the circumstances, and keep living. I believe that this situation will make Gen Alpha more “mentally” tough, and will place them in a better position to face such drastic events in the future.
Information seeking: Gen Alpha were born with smartphones as pacifiers––they’ve been glued to screens and Google since infancy. Naturally, this makes Gen Alpha the most digital-savvy generation yet, as they are able to quickly identify and scout information within a moment’s notice. Because of the high level of uncertainty in today’s age, I believe that Gen Alpha will be expert researchers and intelligence gatherers.
Digital companionship: screen-time amongst children has surged over the course of the lockdown, largely forced by social isolation and a lack of human companionship. With the rise of digital cognitive agents, and Gen Alpha’s increasing comfortability with AI tools, I believe that this generation will foster a first-of-its-kind relationship between biology and technology. Gen Alpha will socialize with AI as much as it will socialize with other humans.
As a result of the Pandemic compliance, resilience, information seeking, and digital companionship are all elements that I predict will become intrinsic to Gen Alpha. Moreover, it would be interesting to explore just what reality may resemble for Gen Alpha in the years to come. Let’s take a deep dive.
The Digital World of Gen Alpha
By 2024, the oldest Gen Alpha will be 11 years old. Though they’ll be too young to obtain a drivers license, it’s likely they’ll be among the first kids to experience semi-autonomus vehicles on a large scale. According to the “Global Autonomous Vehicles Market 2020–2024” report, “The autonomous vehicles market is poised to grow by 5.64 million units during 2020–2024, progressing at a CAGR of 21% during the forecast period.” Virtual education will likely pervade society, as the EdTech market will mature rapidly from now until 2024. A number of startups, such as Class, Engageli, Top Hat and InSpace, are all looking to replace traditional education permanently. As per Research and Markets, the Smart Learning Market is forecasted to be worth $56.5 billion by 2024, as the “proliferation of connected devices in the education sector will drive growth.” Gen Alpha will also likely come home to ever smarter homes, laced with more intricate IoT features. IoT analyst firm Berg Insights estimates that by 2024, “Close to 78 million homes in North America will be smart, meaning 53 percent of all homes in the region.” Unlike Gen Z, which grew up with computers in the home, Gen Alpha will grow up with computerized homes, and rather than car-pooling with friends like in the “olden” days, Gen Alpha might be schmoozing with smart vehicle assistants in just several years. To Conclude Gen Alpha is its own generation, not to be mixed with Gen Z. Though there are some overlaps between both groups, Gen Alpha maintains its own unique features, which will only amplify with time.