“Well, my mum works at Apple. And my dad? He, like, started his own company. But I think he like doesn’t really want to do it anymore.” That’s one quote from a short film by Mike Mills where he talks to children of Silicon Valley employees about changes in technology and how it will affect society.
The film, A Mind Forever Voyaging Through Strange Seas of Thought Alone, opens with almost comical descriptions from the kids of what their parents do, ranging from the well-rehearsed — “My mum is a communications specialist, she works at Cisco” — to the blissfully clueless — “I’m not really sure what he does but it’s something to do with technology? Or something like that?”
But Mills also dives into bigger issues, asking the kids how they expect the world will be different (autonomous cars and floating houses are named) and asking them if humans will be smarter in the future or if computers will have feelings. One of the most telling parts begins around 12:13 when Mills begins asking the kids what kind of devices they own or interact with on a daily basis — Minecraft is huge — and then asks them to name the one thing they’d keep if they had to give everything else away (not an easy answer for any of them).
Mills created the film as part of an exhibition on technology commissioned by SF MoMA for Los Altos, a city in the heart of Silicon Valley, and he told The Believer he found the kids’ answers to be strikingly dystopian. “There was this shocking combination, this contradiction of tech-hunger and tech-covetousness mixed with a deep feeling that tech is going to make us dumber, fatter, uglier and less connected to nature, less connected to each other, where they’re not going to talk to their grandchildren in person; they’re not going to know nature at all.”
A few clips were posted when the exhibition went up in March, but now you can watch the whole thing online. For some reason the video is password-protected, but just type in BELIEVER. [The Believer via Yahoo Tech]