Steve Jobs said “technology married with the humanities make our hearts sing.” To put it another way, Jobs understood how the digital age was the offspring of technology and the humanities. Many of the advances in Web 2.0 are rooted in the arts and social sciences of the preceding 20th century. Here are five examples:
1.The novelist Ernest Hemingway was famous for his short, terse, style of prose, which he attributed to the influence of the artwork of Paul Cezanne. In his memoir A Moveable Feast he wrote “I learn something from the painting of Cézanne that made writing simple true sentences far from enough to make the stories have the dimensions that I was trying to put in them.” In the digital age we call this fusion of creative ideas the following: mash-up; crowdsourcing; collaboration; open-source coding; etc.
2.James Joyce wrote in an avant-garde narrative style called stream of consciousness. It is described as a person’s continuous flow of sense perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and memories in the human mind written out on paper. In Web 2.0 our continuous flow of thoughts and feelings are publicized to the world in real-time on Twitter.
3.The sociologist Emiel Durkheim believed society has a “collective consciousness.” He described it as when “the totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society forms a determinate system with a life of its own. It can be termed the collective or common consciousness.” In the digital age the collective intelligence of society is manifested through search engines like Google.
4.The artist Andy Warhol said “in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” The future has arrived, and we call this 15 minutes of fame a Youtube video gone viral.
Steve Jobs “connected the dots” between 20th century liberal arts and 21st century technology. He also understood people yearned for intuitive and practical devices, which possessed beauty and satisfied an intrinsic social need. This will forever be the standard of great technology and art, and one of the many reasons he will always be remembered.
Do you think the liberal arts have shaped Web 2.0? Please post your comments.