You must have read the news last week that Apple is joining the ranks of firms that are providing to female employees the benefit of freezing their eggs. NPR discussed how this benefit could be misconstrued as a company urging female employees to wait to have children. And Bloomberg View ran a decent counterpoint to the idea that this is a corporate conspiracy bordering on sexism and ageism.
I didn’t take either side of that argument. Instead, while I was reading about it, I considered long view and how it relates to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the ‘app-ification’ of every aspect of our professional and personal lives. I fully expect all of this to become a far-reaching trend with a corresponding app. And I don’t think it will stop at egg-freezing. I see an entire child-making, child-rearing industrial complex growing so that no one really needs time off from work.
Admittedly, I have a fairly dystopian outlook on our technology-driven future–maybe something to do with my penchant for movies like “Elysium,” “The Terminator,” and “Children of Men,” and “The Matrix,” which has me imagining massive human battery factories (Hello, Tesla) and then massive child-care facilities run by robots and software. Do you remember the human battery scenes from “The Matrix”? Maybe it won’t be so gruesome and bleak, but technology would essentially help society thrive by helping society offload the pregnancy and development process. At least until children are old enough to accompany parents to the restaurant.
And then there will be a plethora of applications that enable mothers, fathers, partners, et al., to check on their eggs, their sperm, and their spawn just as folks check on their finances, or their pets–perhaps a more fitting comparison.
O say can you see the opportunities? 80-hour workweeks. Jet-setting to various global destinations for company or personal retreats. Shit, we’re talking the future here…perhaps by then we’ll be transporting, a la “Star Trek,” ourselves to such locales.
Think of incubation units with integrated Google Hangouts or Apple FaceTime or Microsoft Skype. We can sing lullabies and read bedtime stories virtually before jumping into a power dinner with clients or that board of directors meeting that we cannot afford to miss.
Robot nannies and butlers will ensure that teeth are brushed, lunches are made, and tablets are charged–although kids probably won’t be playing tablets anymore. Smart kitchens will dispense three square meals to our youth while we watch on a mobile device from Hong Kong or Ibiza.
The technology-fueled take on leaning in is just around the corner and so is the upside of no economic slowdowns, a world in which paternity and maternity leave have no place, because we won’t need the paid leave.
It will begin with companies competing for and retaining top talent via egg-freezing benefits and other ‘perks’ and it will end with Ender’s Game. We’ll be connected to our progeny via mobile apps and video conferencing.