There’s an awful lot of talk about the Google generation, the born-digital generation, Generation Xbox, the iGeneration and so on at the moment. Usually the boundaries of these generations are vague, and just as well, since chronological age is far from perfectly correlated with just about anything in the domain of very hard science, let alone such social constructs as facility, familiarity, or fear when it comes to new technologies.
But if you had to ignore all the counterexamples and draw an arbitrary birthday boundary at some point in time, this xkcd cartoon from this morning made me wonder if the Unix epoch (midnight on Jan 1, 1970) isn’t a bad candidate. If you were born much before then, with a birthday that comes out negative in time_t terms, you’re much less likely to take a sea of technology for granted; if you were born then or after, you’re more likely to be positive. Hey – perhaps even quantifiably more or less likely, varying with some slightly-less-than-linear function of your time_t age … hmm … possible little project there.
When people talk about ‘born digital’, I like to think of myself as an immigrant naturalised at an early age. One of the things I like about my time_t > 0 dividing line is that it plops me down just on the techie side too.