“Trick question: how many teenagers are in the kitchen right now?” I asked.
The Mom on her laptop at the visitor’s table gave me a funny look. Peered hard at the kitchen. “Four,” she said.
“Five,” I said, pointing at the cellphone on the countertop. Sure enough, all four teens were including the phone in their conversation: right now it wasn’t a phone, it was the phygital body of a fifth teen who lives in another province, attends with her physical body about one week a month, and the rest of the time, hangs out, joins in, and even votes using phygital presence. It wasn’t a phone call in the conventional sense. Using our awesome uncapped wi-fi (THANK YOU VUMA and AFRIHOST!), she was just hanging out, being there. All day.
To an adult she was invisible. To her, she was present with her learning community, sure as if she’d signed in at the front desk. For her friends, she was right there in every sense.
Phygital is where Physical and Digital interface to the point they become inseparable.
Most adults today are very much physical humans who use technology as a tool. Increasingly, we’re seeing the emergence of a new kind of human, whose use of technology is so thoroughly integrated into their life and identity, that they’re more than just ‘digital natives’. They’re pretty much becoming cyborgs even before Elon Musk comes out with Neuralink.
What will these phygital people do when they grow up? Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant? If you don’t already know that most of these ‘prestige’ professions are already being replaced with AI right along with truck drivers and factory workers, sit down.
Your child just may have better career options as a cyber-athlete, game designer, or Youtube star. Or, as someone who is able to interface so seamlessly with tech, that they can use it to augment and amplify their creative, innovative, or entrepreneurial power in ways our species is just starting to play with.
So, next time you worry about kids ‘just playing computer games instead of studying’, consider the future we’re facing. They may be studying harder than you ever could guess. Consider: Digital Literacy is now more of a core subject than handwriting. Literally.
At Riverstone Village our kids climb trees, dance, jump and run, read books, paint with actual paint AND spend unlimited time exploring the tech tools and toys of our current and future culture.
Just a few of our kids have reasonably powerful computers that they bring in from home when they can. Our policy is that we never turn away a child for financial reasons – but this means that our current community machines are potatoes, and even the kids with home machines don’t have things like VR. If you can help us with any kind of sponsorship that will make cutting-edge technology available to all of our members, please, consider investing in the kind of future we’re all excited to see.
We are a registered PBO: so please enquire about tax certificates. Bless you and thank you!