Stephanie Georgopulos argues that looking on millennials as too entitled is mistaken. In fact, she contends that her generation could not possible have lower expectations.
I am at the San Francisco International Airport some barely recent morning, registering for a travel program called Clear when the automated kiosk assisting me makes a strange request: â€œStand still while we scan your irises.â€ Iâ€™ve barely digested this first ask when another takes its place: this time, the kiosk wants my fingerprints. I find this slightly less alarming; I already use those to access my banking app, buy coins for my mobile games, and unlock the phone that hosts all this information in the first place. But my eyeballsâ€Šâ€”â€Šwhich I had only just learned could be used as ID, and from a machine at the airport, no lessâ€Šâ€”â€Šmy dude. Those are the windows to my soul! Ever heard of foreplay?
Clear is a private company that prescreens air travelers using biometric authentication. Becoming a member is like ordering the half-soup, half-sandwich version of TSA PreCheck: it works, if all you want is a taste and are willing to pay for it. With Clear, you donâ€™t need your ID to go through security, but you still have to remove your shoes. You get to wait in a shorter line (sometimes), but you still have to take out your laptop. Basically, the Cleared still participate in the most annoying aspects of air travel and pay almost 10 times the PreCheck fee for the privilege.
How we decided on this valuation of convenienceâ€”itâ€™s $179 per yearâ€”is not the point, though. My point is that some random startup casually acquired my eye-prints, and some small voice is telling me I should care more than I do. Someone out there definitely cares about this, no doubt. Iâ€™m sure at least one other traveler was not sated when a brisk Google search revealed that Clear is based in her hometown and run by a female CEO, ergo it must be a secure and entirely trustworthy business.
But I was sated. Itâ€™s the future, right? Whatâ€™s the worst one could do with my retinal scans? I already gave my social security number to Camel in exchange for a pack of promotional cigarettes one time (or 12). Somewhere in Midtown Manhattan, a market-research firm knows how many condoms I used in May of 2011 (give or take). And when I think about the fact that every hard document Iâ€™ve reproduced on a digital copy machineâ€Šâ€”â€Šat work, at the bodega, at the libraryâ€Šâ€”â€Šis saved on a hard drive somewhere (lots of somewheres, in fact), I feel a sense of hopelessness that, in its own demented way, translates to freedom.
Thatâ€™s why I unlock my phone with my fingerprint. Itâ€™s also why I talk shit in front of Alexa, why I havenâ€™t put tape over my laptop camera, and why I still have a Facebook account. I donâ€™t expect the worst to happen.
Because the worst has already happened. It is happening, and it will continue to happen.
I find this to be an honest, useful framework. If the worst has already happened, that means itâ€™s survivable. And if the worst is a given in the future, too, we know that ignoring it wonâ€™t make it go away. Thereâ€™s opportunity in having nothing to lose. You just need the right attitude. …
Millennials are known as entitled, but as a group, I donâ€™t think we could have lower expectations.
Iâ€™ll go: I donâ€™t expect to own a home. I donâ€™t expect to retire well, or at all. I donâ€™t expect anyone to give me anything I havenâ€™t explicitly asked for, and even then. I donâ€™t expect it will ever be affordable to continue my education in any formal way. If a package gets lost in the mail, I donâ€™t expect to see it again. I donâ€™t expect the government or the banks or the universities to do anything that benefits regular people. I donâ€™t expect them to hold each other accountable on our behalf. I donâ€™t expect them to expel abusers from their ranks, or to put my safety over their legacy. I donâ€™t expect to feel safe in large crowds or alone late at night. And I donâ€™t expect that my privacy will be respected, online or in general.
As far as I can tell, securityâ€Šâ€”â€Šwhether financial, technological, physical, or emotionalâ€Šâ€”â€Šis not a thing. You donâ€™t get to decide whether some drunk asshole drinks his drunk ass off and gets behind the wheel. Likewise, you donâ€™t get to decide if the drunk Congress or the drunk banker or all the drunk administrations of all the drunk institutions do whatâ€™s right for you. Sometimes they will do the right thing for somebody, but statistically speaking, that somebody is not you.