osh Holy fuarrrk, are you reading my mind Mr. Turner?>jokes often are used to hide your feelings in plain sight
true. I'm just too bored, so I start writing those things.>what would you expect to be the characteristics of the next generation
I think you last alternative is more probable, spiralling further down in idiocracy.
I actually never thought about it myself deeply and now you're making be do it, thanks.
What I think is what Nietzsche call the "Dionysus" of the culture. This philosopher separates between Apollo and Dionysus. The first one representing the order and the structured beauty. That what we see on classical art, such as the great paintings from Rembrandt and the compositions of Chopin. It's greatly symmetric and detailed. The other one, Dionysus, would be the opposite: the destruction of this order.
So, taking this analogy in account, what we have experinced these lasts centuries was the decline of Apollo and the rise of Dionysus.
For example, the art. On literature we have the golden age of Romance with Shelley. Then it declined to the "Mal du siecle", a period much more melancholic, such as Edgar Alan Poe. Then people perceived love and romance was somewhat uninteresting and switched to realism.
Same with painting: from symmetry of da Vinci, to movements like dadaism and the anti-art (or anti-anti-art?).
Same with music: from the beauty of Moonlight Sonata to noise music and experimental like Russolo and John Cage.
And with dance: from classical ballet to experimental contemporary dance.
Even on language: from the idea of Confucianism of elegance in language to nigga-like speech.
There's many explanations proposed to that. And those explanations vary together with the philosophical movements at the time. For example, Freud and psychoanalysis following him called it the Tanatus (or "death drive"). It's the pursuit to end the life.
Some would take a more biological deterministic, saying that all the stimuli generated by industrialization made those changes, hence the increase on depression and other factors (see Flynn effect).
Some would take the social constructionist approach, saying that the increase in communication made the relationship even harder (see the hedgehog dilemma). Others (after Darwin) would take an Evolutionary approach, and say that we evolved through millennial living with a band, no in a city full of people, then we had no time to adapt ourselves on this new ecology. Or, the followers of Skinner would say that it's a behaviorist thing (this one is good): the industrialization was a positive punishment and suppressed the behavior seem in ancient times (Apollo analogy)
Sociologists like Durkheim would say it's the Social fact: individuals do much pressure above others, so this pressure has to go out somewhere, hence the change on art/culture.
The cognitivism and neurochemistry would say the entertaining market desensitize the dopamine receptors, so we have to keep doing it for more.
The last one is called semantic distension. Baudrillard said that our society is so full of ads that what we live is no more the reality but a simulated part of these realities. He called it "simulacrum".
So, what does it have to do with your original question?