View Full Version : Is the Web a Threat to Creativity?

02-16-2010, 11:44 PM

02-17-2010, 12:50 AM
Interesting article. I do believe that the internet has dealt a serious blow to the publishing and music industries but I am seeing more and more technology that is trying to remedy that (Kindle, iTunes) and while they aren't yet sufficient remedies yet, they are a step in the right direction. As far as the hive mentality portions of the article...I don't know. I think it depends on the person interacting, using the information , and garnering from it what they will and hopefully still remaining autonomous.

02-17-2010, 05:03 AM
I don't personally believe that the internet is either good or bad for "creativity", it has simply caused huge changes which can result in as much opportunity as it does damage. For example, some individual artists will be worse-off because their work is pirated, but others will discover markets they wouldn't previously have had access to. It may be very unfair, but great artists will continue to create even if they don't receive the rewards they deserve. Many second-rate artists are well-rewarded because people don't realise there are alternatives.

Technology does allow for a lot of recycling, but that doesn't have to be lacking in creativity, and doesn't preclude truly original ideas from breaking through. In all ages commentators have bemoaned the lack of originality in contemporary culture, but that's because it takes time before we can get enough perspective to see what was radical and influential as opposed to what was gimmicky and over-hyped. The internet and new technology simply offers more and more to choose from, both good and bad.

What becomes important is how that information is filtered and ends up in front of us. The great thing about the internet is that if you can find somewhere congenial (in my case places like TLO) the literature, art and music that is recommended by like-minded people is going to be what you find interesting. What we don't want is Google, Amazon, Itunes etc telling us what we should be experiencing in the way of art.

Just a few random reactions to an interesting article...

02-17-2010, 07:07 AM
Interesting article. I do believe that the internet has dealt a serious blow to the publishing...

I'm not sure if I agree with that first point. The internet has increased vastly increased the speed news gets around in "niche" genres making it far easier for those interested to find out about smaller scale releases they would otherwise have missed. Good for small press publishing I would think.

We can make culture and journalism into second-rate activities and spend centuries remixing the detritus of the 1960s and other eras from before individual creativity went out of fashion," he wrote, "or we can believe in ourselves."

In order to keep my personal prejudices out of this I will not remark on journalism*. However I'm sceptical that remixing what has gone before is not half of what individual creativity is - it need not be a negative thing - it's the how well the mixture comes out that's important.

*Actually yes I will. Since I gained access to the internet I have been reading far more articles about current events than I used to. Now it is relatively easy to read proper, neutral written articles without being told how we ought to be worshipping Darwin or chasing immigrants with pitchforks or some other transparant agenda.

02-17-2010, 03:22 PM
On the contrary, the internet has done more to help creativity than even the invention of the printing press. I can't imagine not having access to the wide array of interesting artists that the internet offers. Were it not for this technology, I suppose I'd be digging through old used bookstores, libraries, hoping to catch a fragment of what I've found online, but the community of like minded artists would be impossible to find, or mostly. I suppose Lovecraft effectively maintained an audience of like minded authors through letters.

What I fear is the retreat of physical books from the mainstream audience. You can't have it all on an electric screen, or rather you shouldn't. The physicality of a book in your hand, turning the pages, putting it on a shelf. That it exists vs being pure data, has importance. But maybe this is a concept that a younger generation will laugh at in years to come. Regardless, it's amazing that in ten or twenty years, there will be devices that effectively give you access to every book ever made and be able to show it to you in an appropriate way. Projected imagery, giant screens, etc, that can do justice to the art. I'm thinking the 5th or even 8th generation of a product like the Ipad will have most of the kinks worked out and be an inescapable part of our lives.

I'm incredibly excited about the potential of sixth sense technology, having the computer become part of your body and projecting it from yourself. Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology | Video on TED.com (http://www.ted.com/talks/pranav_mistry_the_thrilling_potential_of_sixthsens e_technology.html)

02-17-2010, 03:49 PM
It's encouraged me to write a lot of thingies. :)

or :(

Mr. D.
02-17-2010, 08:22 PM
I think that Mr. Lanier was half right. The internet is just a thing. it has both good and bad qualities but it is only a tool. However, I think that the way too many people use the internet, as well as television, video games and instant communication may be causing the real core problem that Mr. Lanier is only touching. That problem is that we spend more and more time observing rather than doing. Creativity is just as evident on the internet as anywhere else, but I have seen more and more people disengage from life and start to regress over the past 9 or 10 years than I have ever seen before. Life is becoming a sepctacle that is watched rather than an activity that is done. Too much passive or limited or (most importantly) tangental activity causes us to become stagnent physically, emotionally and mentally. (Usually in that order.) So, if I spend most of my time involved in activities that seperate me from other people and life itself I regress. We all need to spend some time involved with the realities and problems of life. Playing video games as an escape, for example, is a lot different than playing video games every possible second we can spare. Has anyone else observed the erosion of personality and the disconnect with reality in hardcore tv addicts, gamers or internet users that I have?