The Decline of Modern Creativity? (Those Damn Cell Phones)

GrondTwenty five years ago I was stumbling through life and driving a 1980 AMC Spirit. It was a piece of shit car, but it got me around… mostly. One day, the seal on the water pump went out, rendering it pretty useless.

I had the choice of a $600 repair bill or doing it myself for about $75 worth of parts. My financial situation made it an easy choice. Six hours and a few bruised knuckles later, I was back on the road.

Fast forward twenty years and I had a similar thing happen to my 2001 Saturn. Except there was zero chance of doing it myself. Automotive technology had advanced so much in the 20 years of vehicle generations that I didn’t have the tools, much less the knowledge, to perform the repairs myself.

I couldn’t maintain something that was integral to my life. I had gone from a maintainer to just being a user.

I’ve been thinking about how that applies to computing technology today.

For years, I’ve been using a desktop or a laptop as an all-purpose device. I could play games on it, write code, watch movies, create graphics, and creatively write.

Now, that’s been drifting to multiple devices. I use the laptop for all the above, but increasingly I find that I’m using a tablet or phone for entertainment. But, even more relevant, I can’t use that mobile device to create or maintain the other, creative things I do.

Part of it could be that I’m tied to input devices and interfaces used by traditional computers – keyboards and mice – but a big part of it is that the productivity tools simply aren’t there. Trying to use a phone with PhotoShop? Hell no.

And I find that many people are moving away from laptops and desktops, gradually replacing them with tablets, phones, or other portable devices. This makes me wonder if we’re growing out of another stage of the Wild West of computing.

Will the trend continue, where skills erode and are mostly in the hands of professionals? Will our innate creativity be replaced by a user-oriented consumer mentality and most of us simply unable to channel those types of creativity?

About the author

Technical-everything and co-founder here at Barbed Arrow. I've been involved in the gaming industry for a decade and a half in various roles. Grevnol would like to kick my ass half the time, most people would pay him to do that. I've been called "a pool of useless trivia" and I have a very good memory, except for important things like... names. I hate colorblind people. (That's a joke. Kind of.)

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