Monday, March 31, 2008

Technology and Culture: The foreseen and the unforeseen

Time has a similar effect on both technology and culture. In both cases the original intentions and foreseen effects are unsettled and proven wrong. In the case of technology had some of the major effects of the internet been visible during the development of the ARPANET, for instance

• The end of the news media's hegemony and control
• The numerous effects of social and technological disintermediation
• Instantaneous delivery of porn directly into kid's bedrooms

not only would they not have funded the California, hippie, computer-scientists working on it, they would have turned the guns on them, done everything in their power to stop them.

Of all the grandiose predictions, wild-eyed IPOs and elaborate business plans hatched during the 1.0 dotcom days through now, who would have guessed that the largest and most stable business model would turn out to be the sale and delivery of traditional, paper bound books, Amazon.com (insert "Debbie Downer" sound effect here).

I have similar predictions for the world of culture as well. 500 years from now what is evaluated as "culture" will include very little of the stuff sold in NY's Chelsea galleries. It will be the remnants of the military industrial complex, the Navy Destroyers and ICBM missile silos. Those are our monolithic works, our great pyramids.

Here is a prediction with a shorter timeline. Want to make a smart investment in "American Art"? Don't bid on work at Sothebys, go to eBay motors and buy and American Muscle Car in mint condition. More than Jazz, Rock 'N Roll and Baseball combined, these cars encapsulate more aspects of American industry, mythology, spirit and culture and ultimately our demise (oil, petrol politics and pollution from the internal combustion engine).

1 comment:

Kelly Marie said...

Now I feel incredibly depressed.