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Perspective: Don't miss the tech train, my Gen Xers

Susan Stephens

I’m a Gen Xer, class of 88. When hanging out with my people, we always imagine what our 1988 world would have been like if we had social media, smartphones, artificial intelligence, the technology of today. Back in 88, we didn’t have phones. Well, we had phones. They were just tethered to a wall and you couldn’t watch a movie, write an essay, or check your bank account on them. My world, our world, has indeed changed.

These changes have been pretty cool too. Who doesn’t love their iPhone!? Or streaming services? Facebook revolutionized staying in touch. But, stealing from Spider-Man's Uncle Ben, with great change comes great relearning. Progress will always come but if we don’t stay abreast and understand how to engage, we will be left behind, disconnected and ineffective.

Gen Xers, we cannot just complain about how things changed. We must lean in and be part of change. Learn for ourselves how to use new technologies and critique their strengths and complications. How many of you would like to go back and demand social media be more accountable with misinformation or be aware that so much information about our lives was being stored on a bunch of servers and sold.

It’s easy to be the cranky old person shaking a fist at those pesky kids and their new-fangled technology. It is another thing to not know how to differentiate a legitimate source from a troll. So at the end of the day, we need to step our game up. It is not about being cool. It is about being aware, lest we just surrender our voice in the coming future.

I am Joseph Flynn and that is my perspective. Or, is it ChatGPT?

Joseph Flynn is the executive director for equity and inclusion in the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and an associate professor of curriculum and instruction.