The term imagination is a hard word to describe. It can have a range of meanings, but creativity refers in its sense to the act of creating something original, creative or special through the use of thought. Creative thinking is often seen as the opposite of functions or disciplines requiring logic or being constrained by facts. Of course this is not necessarily true. But creative fields are widely believed to require creativity, while scientific fields do not. People often think that creativity is a chaotic, unforeseen, man-made phenomenon, while scientific research, math and machinery are bound by a set of substantive rules.
This has led to people sharing the paranoia that increasing society’s reliance on technology will limit creative thinking. When the question is presented, ‘Technology is limiting creativity,’ many people agree – yes, it is. In a recent report, Is Technology Killing Creativity, the author asserts that the point of the argument is often that we sacrifice original thinking to keep oneself constantly captivated. Then the writer goes on to say, if we can find anything online anywhere, we don’t give ourselves opportunity to solve problems and invent on our own.
Although it’s undeniably true that most people use smartphones and the Internet to flood their lives with idle time, the other side of an argument, though, is that technology actually redefines innovation. Of course, the concern is that adolescents have replaced conventionally imaginative hobbies such as painting, creating, and playing with passive computer behaviours such as gaming. Yet, given the fact that contemporary children do have higher media consumption levels than any previous generation, it is not necessarily true that imagination is lacking in their computer activities. Many kids use the internet to write blogs, create websites or dabbling in coding.
The emergence of technology and smartphones in particular has led to many specific recommendations that our dependency on these tools is killing creativity. This is not a new thought-people suggested that technology had long ago extinguished creative impulses. This was television and video games when I was a kid that were to bring down imaginations everywhere.
What’s the deal, then? Back in 1932, Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World, where he proposed a future in which living beings sat a constant desire for technological distraction. Thought could be kept at bay, because by trying to distract ourselves with our electronic gadgets we would simply zap any boredom. Often this is the crux of the argument – that we’re sacrificing original thinking to keep ourselves constantly captivated. It’s also argued that if we can find everything online somewhere, then we don’t give ourselves room to solve the problems and foster an innovative solution on our own.
Scientific research tells us that daydreaming requires time, as daydreaming enhances our imagination. When we fill some downtime with scrolling through screens, is the daydream time being inhibited? Creativity is often called a discipline of “use it or lose it.” You may be employed in a creative job position, but you can also strangle your creativity by being constantly fastened to a computer.
Technology has broadened the limits of what is possible with artistic practices like animation, music and graphic design. This has given creativity more definition, possibly even enabling more participants to join in. Taking a look at YouTube videos or even content present on Instagram-these are open platforms that allow everyone to participate and develop content.
Take the example like CGI in movies or platforms created to make graphic design more available for practitioners, the online outlets to promote the content. The openness extends the spectrum of artistic activities. On the Internet, only those considered by “experts” to possess artistic talent would have been revealed to the public. The curtain is lifted with the internet, and more people are noticed online every day. Artists like Bach and Van Gogh were not known in their own lives, though they would be well known if they were alive today.
You can have a fair discussion free for both sides to disagree, but where does that leave us? Technology is here to stay and just continues to advance, and maybe one of the more rational reasons is for a healthy use of technology and knowledge, just like how we interpret our diets. There is the idea that our ancient ancestors benefitted from having as much information as possible – it would have been important for survival to know anything about their environment. The challenge now is that our brains need to be conditioned in an age of information overload to minimize the excess and just filter what is needed. It ties in with what we think the right climate requires to be nurtured