Want Your Children To Survive The Future? Send Them To Art School

I am presenting you all with one of the most illuminating and forward thinking articles I’ve ever read entitled ‘Want Your Children To Survive The Future? Send Them To Art School’. The author of this article, Dustin Timbrook, talks about a ‘Post-Work’ world (which many economists and futurists are predicting) where most jobs become obsolete due to automation from growing technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing and Robotics. But what is even more interesting, and very much the heart of this article, is that when this does occur, then our creativity will be all that is left. Yet it is interesting how in today’s world the ‘Arts’ are becoming an increasingly maligned sector. Art schools are currently in danger of becoming exclusively the preserve of people who can afford to pursue an ‘arts career’ and more and more focus is put on STEM subjects. In the context of today’s world this is understandable and there will be an ever increasing demand for computer programmers and website developers (‘coding’ is the current buzzword) and workers in growing technology sectors. But what happens when there comes a time when we are just not needed any more for any jobs? I often think of the inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity prediction for 2045 when Artificial Intelligence will become on par (and subsequently more and more advanced) with human intelligence (our logical intelligence)? Suddenly we will all have lots of time on our hands (yippee!!!) and be able to put all our energies into things that interest us and that we are passionate about. It will be our creativity which will be king in this new world.

Being an artist has always been viewed as an ‘unstable career choice’. In a way, to quote Picasso, every child is born an artist. Every child is born with an innate sense of curiosity and wonder. To quote Timbrook (from a TED Talk he did in 2015), every child is ‘born weird’. But the problem is that traditionally (and today) this ‘weirdness’ and curiosity would be stifled and suppressed by the child’s parents who were (understandably) fearful of their children becoming outsiders or ‘drop outs’. By moulding them more in sync with the mores of current society, they would lose all their unique qualities and go on to do jobs they had little to no interest in doing. A recipe for a repressed and unhappy life. Yet by allowing a child’s ‘weirdness’ and sense of wonder, curiosity and creativity to flourish you are enabling a child to develop not only unique skills and traits, but gifts it will one day be able to present and share with the world and even contribute to making the world a better and happier place to live in.

Just underneath Timbrook’s article, I am also enclosing a You Tube video of his excellent TED Talk, which continues on the themes covered in his article.

by Nicholas Peart

8th May 2016

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Want Your Children To Survive The Future? Send Them To Art School   by Dustin Timbrook

http://www.rocketcitymom.com/want-children-survive-future-send-art-school/

 

Creativity Is Not A Gift – TED Talk by Dustin Timbrook

 

The Death Of David Bowie, The Future and 3D Printing

This is a piece I wrote on January 12th 2016, a couple of days after David Bowie died

I’ve been thinking about nothing but David Bowie these last couple of days. So many of his songs are playing in my head; Sound and Vision and Heroes being the most popular. Heroes always makes me pause and be deeply pensive. There’s something majestic and timeless about that song. Like millions of others around the world I am saddened and shocked by his early death. I had no idea he was so unwell even though I was a little suspicious that something was not right regarding his sporadic movements over the last decade. Another clue that perhaps all was not well was from watching the video to the 2013 song Where Are We Now? from his penultimate album The Next Day. It’s a beautiful, haunting and deeply reflective song. More importantly, it seems to me like he’s seriously questioning his own mortality. When I initially saw the video to that song I could see real pain in his face and I began to feel very sad for him.

In my selfish state of mind I was hoping that he would tour again but I can now kiss that option goodbye. I remember one day back in 2003 pondering on whether to see him live at Wembley Arena. The Dandy Warhols were confirmed as his support band. That day I was at the Stargreen ticket office on Argyll Street in Oxford Circus and the lady at the desk told me they still had tickets left for the show but I foolishly declined on the grounds that I thought the £65 ticket price was too high. As the years went by and I got more deeply into Bowie’s music the desire to see him live increased exponentially but that was never to be as, after a heart attack in 2004, he retreated into splendid isolation with his beautiful wife Iman and the rest of his family. I have seen his compadre Iggy Pop live many times (and I even saw his other soul brother Lou Reed live once but he was dreadful and in a foul mood that day, which was a huge disappointment for me) and as special as Iggy will always be to me, I still regret not taking that unique opportunity to see David live. But life goes on man.

Taking a slight tangent, I often wonder what kind of people the people born today and in the last few years will grow up to be? I don’t know what the world is going to be like in 2020 let alone in 2030 or 2050. I humbly predict that by 2100 there will be no purely organic/biological human life still standing. I think by then all humans will be at least trans-human (half human/half machine). If the inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil’s 2045 prediction for ‘The Singularity’ comes true then by 2050 artificial intelligence will be on par if not far more advanced than human intelligence. The question now is will this advanced level of AI further benefit our lives? Perhaps we can augment our bodies with AI technology in order to be compatible with AI itself as far as logical/mechanical intelligence is concerned? Or will it have dystopian consequences and wipe us all out? Some prominent figures such as the scientist Stephan Hawking and Tesla founder Elon Musk have already publicly expressed much concern that a situation like the latter may very well happen and Musk has even gone as far as to spend a large chunk of his vast fortune on AI research.

By the beginning of the 2020s I predict that 3D printing will slowly start to become mainstream. Currently 3D printing machines are the preserve of scientists and a smattering of ‘geeks’, innovators and early adapters. It is also still rather expensive to acquire a 3D printer but with time costs will decrease and the technology will only get more advanced. I think 3D printing will be the biggest thing to shape our lives since the Internet. 3D printing now is what the Internet was back in 1994/5. Give it time.

Now back to the subject of David Bowie, there is an interview he did with Jeremy Paxman in 2000. At one point in the interview they were talking about the Internet and what it meant back then. Paxman seemed to have little belief in the power of the Internet and stated that he thought it was just a ‘tool’ whereas David disagreed and saw it as potentially a much bigger and larger force (both good and bad) to what it currently was. In fact, Bowie was one of the first major artists to utilise the Internet as a platform for his music when it had just become mainstream back in 1997. Now let’s fast forward to 2016. The Internet plays an enormous role in our lives. It has also disrupted many industries in the process. The one that really springs to mind is the music industry. Many will remember the Napster saga involving members of Metallica back in 1999 but how many back then could have foreseen the colossal impact that illegal downloading would have on an entire industry worth billions of dollars? For many creative people; especially writers, musicians and digital photographers, this is now the age of Free Content. Yet what the Internet has enabled is an instant connectivity and strong social networking facility with an enormous and growing number of people around the globe, which was not possible before.

 

David Bowie talks about the Internet with Jeremy Paxman (2000)

 

Back to 3D printing. The main casualty of this emerging technology is going to be the mass manufacturing industry. “Made In China” will become a thing of the past as every household becomes a factory. Big mass manufacturing businesses like IKEA will either have to adapt in the face of this growing technology or potentially face serious challenges to their current business modal. I believe that the next 5-15 years are going to be very interesting.

For more information on this I highly recommend that you purchase a copy of The Curve by Nicholas Lovell. It is a riveting and incredibly insightful and enlightening book which is very ahead of its time. Furthermore, it is an indispensable book to have with many helpful and practical solutions if you are a creative person struggling to make a living in a world of free content.

 

by Nicholas Peart

12th January 2016
London

 

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