The Daily Zen #15 “The Art of the Future”

Another day on board the Daily Zen, heading to some unknown place in the far off reaches of existence. Let us begin.

I wrote last week about predicting future technology and came to the conclusion it can sometimes be a worthwhile endeavor. With that in mind, I’m going to discuss a thought that recently came to me of a possible future form of art.

There are endless definitions of what art is, but I think most can agree a major component of art is the ability to make one feel emotion. Music is usually the most direct channel to one’s emotion, but movies, paintings, and novels can all have an emotional impact upon a person. However, with our current technology, we can only use these indirect methods to trigger our emotions. What if that wasn’t the case in the future?

I see many stories of experiments where scientists are hooking up electrodes to people’s brains and triggering all kinds of responses. There was even a famous experiment years ago where a scientist created the “God Helmet” which supposedly triggered a person to feel a spiritual type presence when it was activated. This type of direct manipulation of one’s actual thoughts and emotions seems like it will only get more refined and advanced over time.

Taking that string and unraveling it far into the future, I could see a method of digitally recording one’s thoughts and emotions. Once we have that technology, you could envision a future artist recording his or her emotions and somehow combining them into an actual artistic expression. I’d picture some type of application on a future computing device where you could play around with your emotional recordings and mix them into something greater, some type of artwork that is close to unimaginable currently. Then that artwork could be distributed and played back into other people’s minds.

It’s hard to fully contemplate how this all would work, since we currently have no direct experience with recording thoughts or emotions. All current art is indirect, although meant to have some affect on one’s emotions. However, if we had the technology to bypass the middle man and directly interact with someone’s mind, it would be revolutionary to what we think of as art. Suddenly things like music and movies would seem passé, and people would crave art that directly affected them.

This direct line into one’s brain might also be a bit scary. Most people today would feel rather put off at the notion of someone tinkering around in their brain. I’m not sure I’d be very comfortable having that done to myself. However, I think gradually over time (it could take hundreds of years) these fears will be worn away and people will embrace this type of technology.

At least that’s my rather out there prediction. I’m sure I won’t live long enough to know if I’m right.

Old Album of the Day: Abbey Road by The Beatles. My pick for the greatest Beatles album, which puts it in the running for the greatest album of all-time.

Instead of following me on Twitter, try to think of the happiest moment of your life.