"The Child Citizen" represents an idea of what Canada could be like in 2030. In this future, kids are treated like adults. They have jobs, go to school, and even get to vote and make laws. Everyone is encouraged to be different and unique.
What matters to canadians:
Canadians believe that individuals can make a difference in the world.
Diversity in all dimensions is valued, because it supports creativity in our governments, communities, and families.
Holistic health and wellness is an important concern for Canadians and many use technology tools to access highly-personalized, in-the-moment healthcare.
How governments work:
Government processes include strong citizen engagement and feedback systems, so Canadians can actively participate in shaping their country.
Creativity and innovation is highly valued in government at all levels, since complex social problems cannot be solved by technology alone.
How we work and make money:
All Canadians receive a monthly income supplement funded by the taxes paid by companies that have automated much of their work.
Most jobs have been partially-automated.
Adults (and children) work for a couple of hours each day, and have the rest of their time to pursue passion projects, volunteer work, and hobbies.
how we teach and learn:
Education is not just for kids. Adults and children spend a few hours a day pursuing their own learning plans and developing the skills that most interest them.
Schools have been converted to Community Learning Centres, where adults and children pursue learning in Inter-generational Learning Circles (ILCs).
How kids are doing:
Children and youth are fully integrated and engaged in all aspects of society. Just like adults, they work, learn, and play.
Young people are actively included in policy and government. They have civic responsibilities, such as voting and participating in policy decisions.
Canada is a world leader in their enactment of policies that address the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Children experience more inter-generational interactions in their homes, through their education, and at work.
A Day in the Life
Meg, age 18
Meg was getting dressed in her room, just like every other morning, when her mother burst in, calling her name.
“Mom! What’s going on? I’m already late for work.”
“Meggy! You’re going to Citizen Council!!! They just flashed your name on the news!”
Meg stopped struggling with her sweater, which had gotten caught on a sharp edge of her new robotic arm prototype. Now though, she was silent and still. Her heart started beating loudly in her ears.
“What?” she cried and ran out of her room, into the living room, with her mom trailing behind her. Frozen on their family hub screen was the newly-posted list of Citizen Council selections, her name clearly listed, partway down the screen.
The list disappeared and Ravi Patel, the Canadian policy heartthrob, appeared. “Thank you for joining us for this morning’s announcement and coverage of the quarterly Citizen Council reveal! Now, back to our regularly-scheduled coverage of the Parliament.”
Meg started jumping up and down, screaming. This was the best day ever! She was going to go to Ottawa and be a government official for 3 whole months!! And she’d get to meet all the politicians she followed and obsessed over–the policy makers who were so smart, innovative, and glamorous that they captivated a nation.
Meg floated through the rest of her day. She took the high-speed train to work and plugged away at her desk at work. She didn’t even mind when she realized the lunch that her domestic robot made for her was a squashed tuna sandwich. She wasn’t bothered by her colleagues who teased her about how she was going to meet her crushes when she went to Citizen Council. She didn’t even care when her new arm prototype glitched up in the middle of the afternoon, on her way to the learning centre, causing her to spill her juicy berry tea all over herself. Well, maybe she minded a little bit about that. Oh well. She already wanted to upgrade it, to update the health sensors for better accuracy.
At the community learning centre, she joined her Sculpting learning circle, which was made up of an eclectic group of people. This week, they were working on expressing 3-dimensional forms through a genetic engineering software simulation and 3D printer. Meg had been looking forward to this session all week. She put on her VR mask, opened the simulator in her working space and started grasping and moving genes around in her virtual work space. After about half an hour, she decided to compile her genetic material and test the result.
Her experimental giraffe dog was pretty sad-looking. It’s eyes stared dolefully up at her from the simulator platform. It attempted an assuring tail-wag, but failed to co-ordinate all four different tails, some of which got tangled in its uneven legs (three tall, spindly giraffe legs and two furry dog haunches). It collapsed in a heap. Meg giggled and went back to her gene-editing. She thought she understood a few of the bugs and could resolve them with a few quick fixes. The extra tails would be a bit more challenging.
After a few hours of workshop time, the learning circle came together and showcased printed versions of their work. As usual, Meg was fascinated by the radically different ideas and outputs her group had. Maximator, her 7-year old friend, had produced a system of 7 stomachs, loosely inspired by cow guts, that consumed household organic waste and produced large, bright pink balls of bubble gum.
Looking around, Meg felt exhausted from all the things that had happened that day. But she was also so inspired by the thinking of this weird, wacky group. Together, they had come up with some really cool stuff! She hoped her time on Citizen Council was just as inspiring, weird, and creative.
How did we get here?
Trends are the patterns of change that we can identify now that will shape the future. The trends below are those trends in 2017 that had the biggest impact on the development of this future.
Spark a conversation about the Future!
Part of the power of foresight is that it starts new and different conversations. Here are some questions you can use to spark a conversation with children and youth about this future.
What do you think would be fun for kids in this future?
What might be scary or sad for kids in this future?
What do you think kids would play with in this future?
In this imaginary future, people are scared about computers replacing humans. What might be scary about this? What might be good about this?