You no longer need to be able to make a fire using two dry sticks, skin a rabbit, or even wield a soldering iron, but you still need certain skills to cope with modern life. According to a survey of 2,000 adults by UK-based OnePoll.com, the top four life skills are now searching the internet, operating a mobile phone, connecting to Wi-Fi, and mastering online banking.
Other tech skills -- using the word loosely -- include using a USB charger and an SD card, uploading photographs, downloading music, and booking cheap flights. It seems you also need to know how to use Facebook, eBay, Amazon, Google Maps, Skype and Twitter. The Top 50 list is below.
It's hard to believe that the ability to plug in a USB cable counts as a "skill". Presumably it is or Apple wouldn't have developed a port that removes the difficult challenge of getting it the right way up. Perhaps Apple babies will no longer need to practice putting wooden blocks in differently-shaped holes….
Are people who struggle to plug in a USB cable just not tech-savvy, but would still be able survive in the wilderness? The list's non-tech skills suggest not. They include learning to cook, reheating food in a microwave, and "How to order at fast food restaurants".
The extent to which modern life has been dumbed down is illustrated by a companion list of the "Top 20 skills no longer essential to know". This is headed by darning and kitting, but includes putting up a shelf, writing letters, and speaking a foreign language.
But many of the adults surveyed don't see the shift from physical to virtual skills as a dumbing down. Indeed, "85 percent of Brits think modern technology has simply changed the skills we need, with a third believing we are actually more skilled than previous generations." However, "six in ten Brits admitted they would struggle to do some of the 'outdated' skills."
The survey was undertaken for KAZ (from Keyboard A to Z), which provides software that quickly teaches people to touch-type. Happily for the company, touch-typing is still an important life-skill, and hasn't been replaced either by different approaches (eg Swype) or by voice dictation.
KAZ says: "If anything, touch-typing is only becoming more important over time as so many careers now rely on computers more than ever for their day-to-day work."
Top 50 essential skills for modern life
- Searching the internet
- Operating a mobile phone
- Connecting WiFi
- Mastering online banking
- Learn to cook
- Being able to turn off the water at the mains
- Knowing what goes in which recycling bin
- Knowing about privacy settings online
- Use a calculator
- Using a self-service checkout
- Search and apply for jobs online
- Use Google maps
- Updating/installing computer programmes
- Being able to use sat-nav
- Touch typing
- Re-heat food in the microwave
- Checking in online prior to getting to the airport
- Uploading photographs
- Communicate via Facebook
- Change settings on the thermostat
- Book cheap flights
- Working a tablet
- Use a USB charger
- Work out the underground
- Use voucher discount websites
- Set up a wireless printer
- Download music
- Tuning HDTV
- How to order at fast food restaurants
- Have an amazon account
- Know how to use an SD card
- Setting up Sky/cable
- Sell and buy via auction websites
- Series linking television shows
- Social media savvy
- Use Bluetooth
- Changing the clock on your oven
- Communicate via Skype
- Using hands free in the car
- Working a Smart TV
- Book cinema tickets online
- Syncing iTunes
- Communicate via Twitter
- Transfer money via your phone
- Connecting the laptop to the TV
- How to put on an out of office
- Learn new skills via YouTube
- Know how to download movies/torrents
- Pay for parking via your phone
- Find the best prices by scanning barcodes on your phone