In this imaginary future, kids are not treated fairly. They run companies and have responsibilities like adults, but cannot vote or make laws like adults. Kids are starting to work together to fix this problem.
Canadians (adults) receive a salary every month, paid for by taxation on companies with largely automated workforce (robots and artificial intelligence).
Technology has become a focus of arts and culture, enabling people to become artificial intelligence hobbyists, technology philosophers, machine and robotics artists, and translators.
Being different and unique is extremely important to most Canadians.
Many people, particularly youth, engage in self-modification practices enabled by new technologies and at-home synthetic biology labs. This is considered a form of self-expression and creativity.
Governments at all levels are highly focused on efficiencies that are identified and enabled by technology systems.
Governments at all levels partner with multiple technology companies to access advanced systems for data tracking and analysis using artificial intelligence.
The Canadian Census has evolved into an on-going tracking tool used to collect vast amounts of data and make decisions about policy and funding allocation.
Technology systems based on environmental data have enabled Canadians to reduce negative environmental impacts and proactively minimize the effects of climate change.
Most Canadians contribute their free time and skills to support community initiatives, research, or arts and cultural institutions.
Diversity is considered the Canadian economy’s greatest asset.
The public education system is delivered entirely through an online platform. Equal access to this system is enabled by universal internet and technology infrastructures implemented by the government.
Language droids help children and youth interact across languages and cultures in seamless ways.
Young people are required to participate in educational activities until the age of 18.
Children & Youth:
Many young people have started their own businesses, while completing their education. Children and youth (under 18 years of age) now make up 25% of business owners.
Children are excluded from politics. They cannot vote, engage meaningfully with policy decisions or other governmental processes.
Many children and youth are frustrated with the exclusion they face and have started underground advocacy groups to get their voices heard.
A Day in the Life
Dev, Age 16
Dev sips his morning energy drink as he stares out over the cluster of buildings in Kidville. The early-morning mist is still hanging low and obscuring the mess of the streets. He can’t even see the barricade they built to carve out a corner of the town as the headquarters of their youth movement. The quiet morning gives the small network of homes and the community centre an illusion of calm and serenity.
The door to the rooftop opens behind him and a motley crew of young people spill out towards him.
“What’s the morning report?” Dev asks, as he turns back to look out over their domain. His team assembles behind him.
Bill starts. “Logistics are running smoothly. Morning drones are on track for delivery of supplies.”
“Security had a clean report this morning from perimeter sweeps last night. The fresh morning team has set out to monitor the barricade,” Maev adds, her brow slightly furrowed as her cat claws swipe through a list of incident reports on her tablet.
“Your company’s stocks remain stable after a half point increase yesterday,” offers Paulo, his startup’s VP Financial.
Then, there’s an uncomfortable silence that nobody fills. Dev turns around.
“What about comms?” he asks, scanning the group and landing on Ray, who shifts uncomfortably from one of her prosthetic legs to the other. Her right leg squeaks quietly. “How’s our crowds network strategy and media coverage?”
“That’s all going great, Dev,” she answers, without meeting his eyes. “We have a small problem...you’re mom’s on the phone.” Ray holds out the bulky satellite phone they reserved for emergency communications.
Dev take a deep breath. He knew this moment would come. He was ready, but not looking forward to it. He takes the phone from Ray and the group quickly retreats through the door and down to the ops room.
“Hi, Mom,” Dev says into the receiver.
“Dev.” The voice on the line is stern. “I’m not calling as your mother. I’m calling as the Prime Minister.”
Two weeks ago, Dev and a small group of young people ranging in age from 6 to 16, had taken over 2 blocks of a small town operated by the government’s primary tech partner, Stern. It was their most radical action as the Canadian Child Party. They hoped to draw national attention to the unfair exclusion of children and youth from the Universal Basic Income program and most of the government’s policy decisions.
Dev and a number of other youth and child business owners were fed up with paying taxes and following corporate laws that they had no say in making. They’d tried youth advocacy and starting child business associations, but their splinter group had started to feel that nothing would change unless something drastic happened.
The federal government had argued that Canada was fully supportive of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but it was mostly just lip-service. Most Canadian adults expected children to take their online courses, put in their time until they reached 18 and could start doing work they actually cared about.
But Dev, like many children, had gotten bored with the unending course modules and decided to start a company on the side. Using early mornings and evenings, he built a national business. His team was entirely made up of people under 18. It was the experience of working with capable and creative young people that made him realize that Canadian youth needed more access to government and more opportunities to shape the country.
And now, here they were, with a direct line to the Prime Minister. Dev had always been hopeful, but now he was convinced that they had a real shot at being heard. Only time would tell, but Dev knew his team would pull together and make the most of this opportunity. And if that didn’t work, they’d keep taking over, kid by kid, town by town. They wouldn’t give up.
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.
Technology is changing the way education looks, feels, and works in Canada.
Automated Work and Universal Income
Machines are becoming more capable of doing jobs that humans currently do, in manufacturing and even in desk-jobs.
HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT THIS FUTURE
Part of the power of foresight is that it starts new and different conversations about the future, and what's going on in the present. Here are some questions you can use to have a conversation with kids and youth about this future.
- What do you think it would be like to be a kid in this future?
What do you think would be fun in this future?
What do you think would be scary or sad in this future?
What do you think kids would play with in this future?
In this imaginary future, many kids start their own businesses outside of school. What business would you start, if you were in this future?