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What's next on the Internet? Ask your kids

July 6, 2011 | 11:41 am

Kids_computer_future
 

Can kids predict the future of the Internet?

Latitude, an international research and consultancy firm, says they can. Over the last year, the company posed the question "What would you like your computer or the Internet to do that it can't do right now?" to 200 children under the age of 12 from Kentucky to Mumbai. The kids submitted their responses in drawing form, making this one of the cutest studies ever.

Teleport
Latitude suggests that the answers may tell us something about where the next generation (the company called them "digital natives") will be taking computers and technology. Several of the drawings include kids interacting with computers through touch screens, voice activation, and even mind reading. A computer that helped with fashion choices came up in a couple of drawings, so did teleportation (pictured above). There was also a lot of interest in robots.

In a summary of the findings, the company noted that one kid anticipated recent updates to Google image search. A 12-year-old girl from India said, "I want an interface where we can search, not by text, but by drawing -- and get image results with that particular shape or pattern."

Image-search

"Children across the world created technologies that seamlessly meld online and offline experiences,
such as computers that 'print' real food or that allow the user to touch objects displayed on the screen," wrote the company. "Kids today don't neatly divide 'online' from 'offline.' For them, technology is no longer something that mediates experience, but something that pervades it."

Are these findings revolutionary, insightful, or even helpful to anyone? That's unclear. But pictures of the future as imagined by kids are definitely fun to look at.

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Images, from top: Video calling with real-time translation as imagined by a 7-year-old from Warwick, R.I.; a visual search engine as imagined by a 12-year-old from Mumbai, India; teleporting, as imagined by a 9-year-old from Perth, Australia. Credit: Latitude

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