Growing up and going to school, my year was always the first to try out new procedures. From Kindergarten through high school, my class was the first to test all the newest versions of standardized exams, as well as all the newest requirements for applying to colleges. I remember thinking to myself how I was always put in the position of being the guinea pig of our country’s educational body.
Some institution would have some great new idea on how things ought to be done and the next thing you know, I’m strapped down, shaved and drugged — not literally, but you get the picture. Then the thought occurred to me; this is simply the way that things work and the way that they have always worked.
Innovation requires a certain play between trial and error, being the only way to realistically conclude whether the novel concept successfully does what it was created to do. The biggest issue with such trial and error guinea pig testing is that you go into the experiment knowing that there is a certain likelihood of the project resulting in error — there is a chance that the entire project does more damage than is acceptable.
We are a generation fueled by innovation — and, for this reason, are testing our own products on those we know how to market toward the best: ourselves. Generation-Y is a generation that thrives on consumerism. We love buying sh*t and we love showing others the sh*t we’re buying. We are the best customers that any company could have because not only will be buy the latest product and all future versions or updates of the product (we have to make sure that we keep trendy), we also make sure to publicly announce our new buys all over social media.
Think about it; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to name a few are filled with pictures, tweets and status updates centered around where and what we are eating, what we are wearing, what we are driving, where we are partying…we are walking advertisements. Our generation is run by trends — the more influential and longer lasting the trend, the better the business for the company selling you your brief moments of happiness.
Corporations and smaller companies have realized the value of our generation and for this reason direct most of their marketing strategies directly toward us. This, of course, can prove to be more harmful than helpful. It is safe to say that our generation is the most ethically conscious and genuinely caring generation the world has seen in a long time — if not ever. When we launch a product line, we try to make sure that it is eco-friendly, economically sound and that it benefits the general populace.
We are young entrepreneurs and philanthropists that build companies with the good of the world in mind. This surely is not always the case; nothing ever is. However, most Generation-Yers are looking to do more with their time and effort than simply make money — we wish to make a difference. With this in mind we are less likely to take risks and make decisions that may have severe adverse effects on the rest of the human race. The same cannot be said for those in power that have come up from previous generations.
Generation-X and the Baby Boomers are known for their lax ethical standards and for finding loopholes whenever possible. I am not trying to insult our forefathers, but the facts don’t lie. Whenever you saw a CEO or CFO getting escorted out of his penthouse apartment on Park Ave in the last decade or so, it was a member of one of the previous generations.
This cannot be entirely accredited to the fact that because we are younger we have yet had time to acquire such wealth and have yet to be tempted to follow off the right path — there are those from our generation that have made fortunes early on and have proven to have ironclad morals. Older generations, on the other hand, are still in charge of some of the largest, most powerful generations in the world and guess what — they enjoy using us a guinea pigs too.
The main difference is that they aren’t as worried about our wellbeing as our generation itself is. While Gen-Y is focusing mostly in the technology sect, testing out the latest gadgets on their own, older generations are playing mad scientists. And guess who they have caged up in their labs? Yes, us. Maybe you have noticed how much the price of an oil barrel has gone up in the last decade or so.
You can do your best to accredit to rising costs in production, but the truth is that companies, like Exxon, continually show increase in their profits, quarter after quarter. They are playing with the theory of supply and demand, increasing the price and testing out how much the demand will decrease. Because gas is such an important part of our daily lives, the gas companies are able to increase their prices significantly, reap greater profits and watch as we react to their injustice.
While our generation is leading in the technology and luxury industries, older generations have us by the balls, controlling all that is necessary for survival. The food industry is one of particular interest since the recent GMO takeover. Companies have found ways of producing more for a lower cost — by genetically modifying our food source.
Whether or not this is a necessary move to guarantee the survival of our species is up for debate, seeing as how naturally producing grown goods may become an impossibility in the next 100 years or so. Nonetheless, these companies have come up with products that need to be tested. You can do all the testing you want in a lab or on other animals, but you won’t ever know the true effect until you test the product on the actual population. Were this technology available 50 years ago, the testing would have been done on our grandparents and great-grandparents. But the technology only became available recently and for this reason, Millennials are once again the guinea pigs.
Our generation is pioneering the technological innovation in fields across the board. Every technological advancement will be utilized in all other fields whether it be electronics, produce, pharmaceuticals or aviation. The first flights to space station hotels will be tested on Generation-Y. The first colony on Mars will be inhabited by Generation-Yers (assuming we can get up there fast enough). All the newest innovations in the next two decades or so will be targeted to us and we will have to face and deal with all collateral damage.
This is all a result of luck. It isn’t that things were planned in such a way, as to have us pricked and injected left and right. Technology advanced when it did and we were the generation that grew up learning and utilizing all the latest technologies. When the time comes, the generation after us will become the lab rats and assuming that we haven’t all died from ingesting chemically engineered carrots, we will be forgotten like all previous generations.
Photo courtesy Tumblr, Flickr