This elegantly simple video by software developer Marius Budin uses Google Suggest (the feature that “completes the thought” when you type a word or two into the search window) to traverse a hypothetical life course writ in billions of searches. Worries about pregnancy, virginity, failure and loneliness prevail, a telling glimpse into human insecurity. Also noteworthy is the fact that the video devotes 90 seconds to ages 10 to 40. The next 45 years rate 24 seconds, starting to skip decades at 50 and ending with “I’m 85 and I’m tired.” The pacing perfectly reflects “the biased assumption that those decades are more homogenous,” wrote my niece Amenity, who posted it on my This Chair Rocks Facebook page. “And those early searches expose a lot of anxiety for kids/teens/young adults that I bet lessens dramatically as people age and conquer, embrace or simply accept those fears.” I think she’s right.
In fairness, only a little over 50% of Americans over 65 are online. I know octogenarians who use the internet, though, and not to find out whether or not they’re tired. That online population is growing fast, and I trust that evolving data patterns will reveal the way concerns and interests grow ever more diverse over time—once acne, virginity, and pregnancy have been dispensed with!