The Blog

14
Apr

Is Technology Killing Creativity?

Kids today spend more time indoors than any other generation. Even when I was growing up, it was a common feeling among parents that our gadgets are messing with our ability to be creative.  So in the vortex of social media, app bubbles, fake news, robots and Tinder, what’s different about creativity today? How does technology affect us now?

iphone-smartphone-taking-photo-graffiti

Smartphones are turning us into zombies

 

You’ve probably heard a family member say this before… “Kids don’t know how to talk anymore”

 

Or this … “Kids are addicted to smartphones”.

I’ve observed this in kids growing up with smartphones. I’ve felt this myself and seen it among my peers. In the past five years, I’ve seen a change in how baby boomers are affected by our new mobile world. This got me thinking about how technology is affecting our psychologies in the long-term and if there’s any merit to the opinions above.

 

If we stick to the facts we know this, technology has an uncanny ability to keep us dependent. We are addicted to our smartphones. Modern research is warning us already, that there is no difference between how our brain reacts to our phone screens and cocaine. We need our social updates just as much as an alcoholic needs one more drink. We fall back on our screens at a party, just like a smoker feels the need to light up 5 minutes into it.

 

So the generations growing up in today’s technology are particularly vulnerable to an addiction that can alter their personalities and make them indifferent to the world and people around them.

 

No one is immune from this aspect of modern life, but smartphones and social media pose a much larger risk to children. But for somebody who is naturally creative, or for someone who grew up with the proper balance of tech and the real world…

 

Does technology hurt our creativity? No.

 

Technology transforms art and enhances the creative process.

 

No one wants to do extra work, and technology is naturally made out of laziness. Smartphones allow us to be lazy thinkers but they’ve also made a collective generation significantly more intelligent than the former ones. It’s allowed us to shortcut our questions and cut through the creative process.

 

Technology Eradicates Barriers to Creative Excellence. Why? Because connecting the dots and combining ideas become second nature, every tool you need and every skill you want to acquire is literally in the palm of your hand and accessible to you in an instant.

 

Social media has revolutionized art platforms to the point where someone across the world can buy my painting on Pinterest. And for all you writers out there, the average salary for a social media specialist is over $56,000 and thanks to big-data, digital marketing and research is one of the fastest growing careers of this decade. Data and creativity are now working together by using new insight to create better products and it’s creating a job market that values the technical creative.

 

 

Graphic designers have been in-demand for over a decade and with the GIF addiction we have today, my bet is that job prospects will only increase. EDM has put the world in a trance and light shows are now just important as the music. Derek Vincent Smith, the leader of an EDM collaboration known as Pretty Lights, started his career as a Lighting Director. And how can I not mention app developers, the people with the creative ability to change the way society functions with lines of code. So what’s the compromise to this question? Does technology kill creativity?

 

Technology doesn’t kill creativity but it can make it harder on your kids.

 

Despite all the distractions and clutter, someone who is born to create will always find a way to express themselves. In fact advances in technology have given birth to a whole new cohort of technical artists.

 

You can argue that smartphones stop kids from going outside and thinking critically. Parents and educators need to find a real structural agreement as to how much tech is too much tech or this generation’s tool will be the next generations shackle. But our grandparents had the same fear about television and even before that, people were afraid of the printing press. So we can agree that we need to find the optimal balance, but before you think about technology killing our kid’s creativity, watch this video of a baby dropping a fire beat.

12
Apr

Is your smartphone giving you anxiety?

Is your smartphone giving you anxiety? 

Before I started typing this sentence I checked my phone three times. As I’m writing this, Trump bombed Syria, old high school peers instantaneously became experts on international conflict and apparently, you can give a grape a beard using a raspberry.

Raspberry makes grape beard

 

We’re living in dynamic times, to say the least. It’s not news if it’s normal and nothing seems normal anymore. Which gives me the vindication I need to consistently gaze into my phone screen like I actually have a reason to. Honestly, I  feel anxious when I don’t check my phone, even if there isn’t a good reason to do so. And that anxiety only doubles when my phone is about to die.  

Personally, my Iphone is at the point in its lifecycle where it’s either at 30% or dead everytime I check it. So I’m convinced that Apple is personally out to rip my sanity away from me. But what surprised me is that I’m not alone. Battery percentage seems to run parallel with short-term mental health.

 

via GIPHY

 

In fact, almost half of my generation would bail on the gym to charge their phone. The people we interviewed confirmed that this is a real problem for every age group. When asked about how they feel when they’re phone is about to die, the number one answer was anxious. Followed by helpless, shitty, pissed off and “oh my god”. 

 

I’ve been writing next week’s blog titled Does Technology Kill Creativity? 

Which led me through a pile of research on widespread smartphone addiction and how that impact our kids. But it seems obvious that kids aren’t the only ones with a problem. Just about everyone panics when their battery is low.  It’s called “Dead Battery Anxiety”, it’s a real thing and it’s a big deal. Our obsession with staying “on” and connected at all times, disrupts our awareness of the world around us and distorts our ability to make rational decisions. Need proof? Meet Nick Silvestri. The star of this video, who jumped on a Broadway stage to charge his phone with a prop outlet, because he was at 5% and “girls were calling him”.

 

So is this just about dead phones? In my opinion, no. I think it’s tied to something much bigger than the fear of keeping your phone from dying or missing out on something. It’s one symptom of a broader psychological tension that started when we structured our society around these devices in the early 2000s. And the proof is in the code. Software companies are intentionally experimenting on our reward systems, because the longer we stare and the more we check, the larger the checks they get from their advertisers. We’ve made a perfect constant stimulation device, and it might do generations of damage.

 

Our phones aren’t just an obsession for people either. They’re a security blanket. We use it to avoid dealing with our thoughts, pains, worries, problems, even other people. And the more we use them the more likely we are to become anxious or depressed. We are literally trying to solve our problems with the thing that, is most likely, causing our problems. It seems like most of us are aware it’s an issue but aren’t seeing it as a personal problem. For example, most of the people we talked to spoke about social media as if they wish it weren’t around, yet the average person spends about two hours a day on it.  The average teen? Nine hours a day… 

I’m betting on the fact that we’ll continue to turn a blind eye to this as a social issue. So as society continues to mutate around social media, it’s going to be interesting to see what long-term studies will have to say about smartphones and psychology in the future.
So how do you feel when you’re phone is about to die? And why do you think you feel this way?

 

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