Blog: Tools and Reality
The fact that our tools shape us has been a long standing truth, long before machine started to become statistically autonomous. It is worth revisiting that in the context of what creativity looks like on the human side (ambiguous, unstructured) and what can the machine churn (spreadsheets, very long spreadsheets).
I recently tried to reflect on my nagging reluctance to really adapt Are.na. It is nagging because the product ethos is great, the community is very strong, and there is a lot of wonderful content hiding there.
Having thought about these tweets again, I am starting to articulate a feeling that we might be over efficinizing human creativity. Now there is a time and a place for us to write our inner self into a tidy ‘sheet’, so we could pass it to our collaborators and make things in the world.
But without an actual problem to work on (as in the case of using something like Are.na recreationally) this feels like compartmentalizing our creativity into tiny shared drawers, out of what a belief that we’re taking part in a collective pyramid of knowledge.
This remind me of Jaron Lanier comments on cybernetic totalists.
In his “Half a Manifesto” he (Lanier) takes on those he terms the “cybernetic totalists” who do not seem “to not have been educated in the tradition of scientific skepticism. I understand why they are intoxicated. There IS a compelling simple logic behind their thinking and elegance in thought is infectious.”
“There is a real chance that evolutionary psychology, artificial intelligence, Moore’s Law fetishizing, and the rest of the package, will catch on in a big way, as big as Freud or Marx did in their times. Or bigger, since these ideas might end up essentially built into the software that runs our society and our lives. If that happens, the ideology of cybernetic totalist intellectuals will be amplified from novelty into a force that could cause suffering for millions of people.
At the end of a thinking process funnel we need to land with a structured thought, so we could communicate it, and be constructive citizens of the world, but as more machines clutter our organization, we’d be better off reserving (and insisting for) the right to exercise chaotic useless creativity.