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Why Wikie the killer whale could soon be ruling the world

PUBLISHED: 06:06 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:22 05 February 2018

If tech-obsessed millennials can't talk to each other properly now, how on earth will they cope with loneliness in later life?

If tech-obsessed millennials can't talk to each other properly now, how on earth will they cope with loneliness in later life?

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Now killer whales can talk, says Sharon Griffths, our young people could really be in trouble...

Wikie the killer whale has learned to talk.

Well, she can sort of say “Hello” and “Bye bye”, which is more than some young people can manage.

Apparently, millennials between the ages of 18-24 find it hard to talk to real live people face to face. They’re fine on texts and social media but struggle talking to neighbours, people on the bus, or even each other.

Now bosses are increasingly saying that young recruits just don’t know how to talk to colleagues or customers. Maybe they don’t even gossip over the photocopier anymore.

The gift of speech is one of those things – plus something to do with opposable thumbs – that marks us out as different from animals and allowed us to take over the world. It means as well as gossip, we could co-operate on hunting and great projects.

If birds had the same skill, perhaps they could have built the Taj Mahal out of twigs and spit. Highly intelligent pigs could be eating man sandwiches for breakfast.

In this complicated world we need communication skills more than ever but are using them less and less. We can shop, book holidays, deal with banks and businesses all online. We can buy tickets and coffee from machines, pay for our shopping and even check in for a doctor’s appointment, all without actually saying a word to another person.

No wonder we’re losing the knack. If we lose our mastery over conversation and discussions, even at a simple level, then not only are we increasingly isolated but we’re sitting ducks for anyone who comes along and wants to brainwash us, which is seriously scary.

We’ve all seen families in pubs, or groups of youngsters in town, each one intent on an individual screen, not talking to the person next to them.

We make great efforts to teach our toddlers to talk and then give up as though the job’s done. No. Once they can talk then they have to learn to communicate too, and keep learning. We have to start again with our teenagers and encourage them to talk to people and not just to screens.

If they hardly speak to people now, what on earth will they do when they’re 70, 80 or 90? If today’s loneliness epidemic is bad, those in the coming generations are going to be much, much worse.

My sons used to mock the conversations in the village shop when they were in a hurry to buy a can of Coke or some Haribos. But those people they mocked were keeping their talking muscles active. For if you’ve never learned to talk fluently about the small stuff, how on earth are you ever going to start on the really big subjects? No wonder stress levels are soaring among the young.

Communication and connection between people matters.

At the moment, Wikie the killer whale lives in a theme park in Antibes. If we’re not careful and she carries on talking, she and her family will be taking over the world – and we’ll be the ones in the pool with a ball on our nose, doing tricks for tourists.

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