Want to know what the next big thing in tech will be? Forget Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg – ask your 2 year old instead. At least that’s what a new study conducted by international research consultancy firm Latitude is suggesting. The company found that children are becoming human weathervanes pointing to the direction that computers and digital experiences are headed in. And according to the report, kids around the globe are indicating that more interactive, even human-like back and forth may be what’s in store for us in years to come.

Image © oxtopus via Flickr

Latitude conducted the study in order to see the the future of technology through the eyes of “digital natives,” or those of us who have never lived in a world without the internet a.k.a. kids. In order to collect their data, they reached out to over 200 children ages 12 and under around the world and asked one simple question: “What would you like your computer or the Internet to do that it can’t do right now?” But instead of providing written answers, the kids were asked to draw out what their dreams for the Internet looked like.

A large number of the drawings, though very varied, seemed to share one main theme. “Overall, the drawings demonstrated that kids wanted their technology to be more interactive and human, better integrated with their physical lives, and empowering to users by assisting new knowledge or abilities,” the study states. “Several study participants imagined technologies that are just beginning to appear in tech-forward circles, such as Google’s revamped image search, announced on June 14th 2011, which allows users to place images, rather than text, in Google’s search box to perform a query.” Kind of scary but kind of neat, right?

The research also picked up on other themes: The idea that kids don’t differentiate between their real-life and virtual interactions like adults do and the desire for computers and machines to act more like humans (we blame the movie Wall-E). What do your children teach you about current and future tech? Let us know in the comments below.

Lead image © benrjordan