Why TECHNOLOGY is a NET POSITIVE - It's ALL ON US
The modern music world – and “world” in general – is truly amazing.We’ve got just about everything we could want at our fingertips.And so much of it is cheap or free.What we imagine, we can create.Anyone with access to a computer and the internet can think up, work up, and release into the world whatever they want.
It’s not perfect.So many people STILL don’t have access to a computer or the internet.And like the disparity between having and not having a college education used to be (and sort of still is), it’s a question of affordability and flat out discrimination, the lack of which creates a nearly insurmountable disadvantage.
For those of us plugged in, there are also some drawbacks and side effects, omissions and overwhelms.While it’s great that people can share to their hearts’ content, the glut of new material is impossible to fully digest.That kind of overwhelming volume makes it harder for people to sit still with one thing long enough to appreciate it to its fullest.The ease of finding and digesting our little morsels has devalued ALL of it, something industry players like Spotify & iTunes are super happy about.We as artists might be getting as many listens as, say, the Strokes did in the early 00s, but we’re making miniscule fractions of pennies compared to 15 or even 10 years ago.
With this glut, this onslaught of artistic expression that brings with it both the most thoughtful and well-conceived works alongside nearly thoughtless shit spat out in an afternoon, we might conclude that things were better way back when.Thing is, way back when there were people saying the same thing about wayer back whener.And wayer back whener – yep the same thing.Every time a new technology overwhelms us, we assume it’s the technology itself that is flawed.And every time after the overwhelm subsides, and things like TV or radio or books become just another form of mundane media, we realize that it’s not the technology, it’s us.
So does that mean we should toss it all and get back to nature? Put on our Luddite hats and carve our stories on cave walls? If that’s you, good on you and I’ll see you in the afterlife if that’s a thing. I say ABSOLUTELY NOT. I say that with every new technology, the benefits inevitably far outweigh the detriments. Access to information is the greatest form of power, because it spurs on revelation and action and change and all the tangible works we do to move this world forward. It’s the thing the powers that be want us to fight amongst ourselves over, so we don’t learn the truth and fight them instead. We can and do learn to handle the pitfalls – misinformation, diminishment of both the value and quality of what we create & consume, the paralysis of too many options – and we come out the other side smarter, more informed, more aware, and more CONNECTED. We see & hear things we never would have without the technology, whether that’s a music performance from a remote corner of the world, TV showing us what war and police actions really look like, radio affording the less monied the opportunity to hear a full orchestra playing a classic concerto, or a book taking us to another place or time in complete detail. Take it as far back as you want, and what always follows the spread of new technology is connection … and change.