The Rise Of The Artist, You Are The Future

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techgnotic's avatar

Forward by techgnotic

Picasso seeing a seven as an upside down nose?

Right brain warriors in the new age will be the coveted candidates ordained to lead and guide us; lifting the torch to light the way forward into a brave new beautiful world.

Artists have always feared that they are unappreciated and that the march of progress comes only from business, science and their machines. 1984 was imagined by an artist projecting these exact fears. Our guest essayist suggests the computer will never be our master, but only the super high speed counting machine it was meant to be leaving humans with only one pure task— being creative.

The Right Brain Revolutionby Auren Hoffman

Over the next 100 years, the importance of creativity will trump systems thinking due to the rapidly escalating power of computers.

No, I’m not talking about an apocalyptic “Rise of the Machines,” but rather about the future ascent of people who excel in creativity, intuition, and the marshaling of original solutions, things that computers won’t be able to do for a long time. Tomorrow’s rewards will be won by creative people who contribute new ideas. Call it the Right Brain Revolution.

For the past few centuries, society has richly rewarded strong systems thinkers, logical, analytical, objective people such as computer programmers who build software, engineers who build bridges, lawyers who write contracts, and MBAs who crunch numbers. But as computers take over more of the pure systems thinking, people with only this skill set will find their importance decline. There are about 4 to 5 million engineers and computer scientists employed today in the US and few will be automated out of existence. But in the next 50 years, those that excel in creativity-- big picture thinkers, artists, inventors, designers -- will rise to the top. It could be as big a paradigm shift in labor market history as when tools made physical strength irrelevant, or assembly lines replaced the cottage industry. The illiterates of the future will not be those who cannot read and write or code, but those who cannot connect the dots and imagine a constellation.

From 1975 to 1994 only 0.5% of psychological studies concerned creativity, but now it’s a flourishing field complemented by an entire industry of self-help books on how to become more creative. A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries identified creativity as the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future (more than rigor, management discipline, integrity and even vision).


Instead of making a resolution to learn how to code in 2013, you might make a resolution to learn how to draw.

Auren Hoffman


Computers are no match for the average fourth-grader when it comes to creativity.

Auren Hoffman


Instead of encouraging your child to major in engineering, you might encourage her to study philosophy.

Auren Hoffman

In the United States, the key predictive score to spot a good systems thinker-- our future leaders-- has been the SAT and IQ tests. Our universities have, for the most part, outsourced their admissions decisions to these tests. And that was probably a good thing. In the last few hundred years, systems thinking trumped all other talents. We needed to build bridges and understand complex matters. While creativity, emotional intelligence, and other talents have been important, they were relegated to second place in predicting a person’s success. But while high IQ is important, it isn’t very correlated to creativity.

That is going to change.

Over the next 30 years, we are going to see a big societal shift that will give outsized rewards to creativity. Systems thinking, while still important, will move to second-fiddle in the talent hierarchy.

So What To Do?


Education and parenting should aim to provide the conventional skills (math, problem solving, and test taking skills) while also encouraging creative, out-of-the-box type thinking. Computers are no match for the average fourth-grader when it comes to creativity.


Instead of making a resolution to learn how to code in 2013, you might make a resolution to learn how to draw. After a few months of lessons you might begin to observe the world differently seeing details, light and shadows, shapes, proportions, perspective and negative space.


Instead of encouraging your child to major in engineering, you might encourage her to study philosophy, ask smart unsettling questions and practice making unusual and unexpected mental associations.

Albert Einstein said;

“I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious.”

About Auren Hoffman

Auren Hoffman is an industry visionary with a global battlefield view of emerging business, commerce, technology, and social realities that is truly second to none. His analysis of current trends, unique in a revolutionary perspective, makes him sought after as an advisor to a multitude of divergent companies and business professionals. In a recent essay Auren sounded the alarm alerting his colleagues across multiple industries to the radical shift in direction necessary to ensure success by sharing his thoughts on what will be of most value in the coming decades of this new emerging reality - - you, the artist.

Auren’s writing in future-speak. But the future may be now. The gigantic proletarian participation in the arts all over the Internet from deviantART to YouTube to Vimeo or smaller influential places such as Behance or 500 Pixels or the millions of Wordpress blogs and the complete wonder of a genuinely crowd-sourced and peer-reviewed Wikipedia— all of this is a massive popular takeover of the arts— not a revolution but an inconspicuous re-engineering enabled by technology.


Questions For the Reader

  1. Do you believe your art advances the human condition?

  2. Do you believe that those with more creative rather than systems-oriented thought processes are destined to assume the leadership role at this point in human history?  Do you see evidence of this happening already?

  3. Have you ever experienced a knee-jerk fear of advancing, accelerating technology "taking over" all human relevancy? Or have you always felt secure in technology remaining a tool serving a human master no matter how advanced the A.I. becomes?

  4. Are we at the apex of what is achievable technologically and now, as Auren Hoffman suggests, about to enter a Next Phase of human society beyond sheer survival emphasizing the arts?

© 2013 - 2021 techgnotic
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razevortex's avatar
nice its kind of... inspiring... n1
As a mathematician I was delighted to be informed that a computer can do my job for me!

It's probably true that it sounds plausible enough, but it is seven miles wide of the truth.

Computers can be useful to prove some kinds of theorems in mathematics, and sometimes even discover new ones, but mostly the things they discover are weird and uninteresting - they seem to deal best with objects whose properties suit the way a computer operates, but most things don't fit nicely into this class.

Dualistic jibber-jabber about "right brains" and "systems thinking" does not even begin to coalesce with the manifold ways things turn out in a world where the truth is not always what you make it.

Sounds like typical management speak to me, spend so much energy putting people into boxes, and then telling them to think outside the box. But then why did you put them in the box in the first place?!

N.B. I personally would not start a new paragraph with "THAT IS GOING TO CHANGE", when the previous paragraph consists of multiple propositions. It admits two amusingly different interpretations of what you wrote, though.
Anabiyeni's avatar
I know statistics (my interest) is a bit different from math, but your comment gave me a horrifying image of computers taking over all statistical work. I've found that calculating meaningful statistics requires some level of creativity. We will always need people to identify connections and levels of importance for computers.
SherriCherry's avatar
VaiointheFUTURE's avatar
Purrish's avatar
This is kinda cool and all, but I thought that right brain vs. left brain thing was ripped apart and disproved (to an extent)? Ah well :U
TheCart00nist's avatar
I really wanna read, but I didn't slept last night and I'm impatient!

What is wrong with me?
By the way: I like the drawings.
Jajamola88's avatar
1. No, I'm not an arrogant prick. One person's drawings of TF2 characters and Vocaloids don't have a huge impact on all of humanity.

2. No. Leadership requires both logical, process-based thinking (you people make logical people sound like dull, boring computers.) and creativity.

3. Computers will always be a tool for humans, because we made them that way. The most powerful supercomputer in the world is useless if nobody turns it on. They can't do everything for us. Even though you use a keyboard and software to type, your computer, no matter how powerful, won't write fanfiction on its own. It can't draw conclusions from the data scientists get using it.

4. No. "That's it! We can't do anything else now! Let's give up trying to improve medicine and engineering and burn the labs!"

          I draw because it's relaxing and I get ideas out of my head, not because my creativity is some magical path to power. Science, math, and computer engineering will continue to play a critical role in human life, and they all require creativity, albeit not the kind that you use to create art. 

This assumes that we are at our scientific limit and that there's no point in further scientific research. We aren't. We still can't travel outside the solar system in less than a decade, we can't grow new limbs for amputees,  we can't desalinate ocean water cheaply. Finding solutions to problems like these also requires a good amount of creativity, combined with knowledge. Good job encouraging the stereotype that STEM fields are dull bean counting. Good job helping to perpetrate the stereotype of the snobby, hipster artist/writer who thinks that their art advances all of mankind.
The author fails to realize that coding is an artform as well and that logic can be just as effective as a paintbrush. 
"Instead of making a resolution to learn how to code in 2013, you might make a resolution to learn how to draw".
I am sorry but that is some stupid advice. Coding teaches you how to think. Problems that need to be solved via coding can and sometimes need to be approached creatively. The author doesn't seem to realize or acknowledge this fact. It may be born out of misconceptions he has about programming or sheer ignorance. I do not know. As a game developer, I believe video games are the ultimate art form. 
“It’s the sum total of every expressive medium of all time made interactive… it’s awesome!" Making a video game is almost all about problem solving when it comes to programming. I apologize for any "venom" that may be inferred from this post. The insinuation that coding is somehow not a "creative" endeavor is almost insulting. The author toutes that drawing will make one "observe the world differently seeing details, light and shadows, shapes, proportions, perspective and negative space." I've been programming the graphics of my current project and I can empathize with the previous statement in all it's areas. The author devalues logic in the face of creativity but I say that they are sides of the same coin. Creativity and logic can have beautiful synergy.

I'll conclude with a Richard Feynman quote/story that feels relevant:

"I have a friend who's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with very well. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," and I'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and I think that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe…

I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts."

LeoWings-Fly's avatar
I do agree in what you same even though there some scientists who doesn't care. They do see more than most of. Plus most people who aren't artist they can see how beautiful the flower is too.
YoYobuddy's avatar
"sometimes, when an artist needs to paint, they paint, and when they do, it's amazing"

Jeimi-chan's avatar
“If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts.

I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.

Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.

Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.

Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

— A Man Without a Country, 2005
techgnotic's avatar
Thank you for posting this quote for everyone.
Jeimi-chan's avatar
Don't thank me. Thank the late great Kurt Vonnegut. :)
Jeimi-chan's avatar
By Kurt Vonnegut
kelaydinov's avatar
"Entertainers like to seem complicated
But we're not complicated
I can explain it pretty easily
Have you ever been to a birthday party for children
And one of the children won't stop screaming
Cuz he's just a little attention attractor
When he grows up to be a comic or actor
He'll be rewarded for never maturing
For never understanding or learning
That every day can't be about him
There's other people, you selfish asshole!

I am an artist
Please God, forgive me
I am an artist
Please don't revere me
I am an artist
Please don't respect me
I am an artist
Feel free to correct me

A self-centered artist
Self-obsessed artist
I am an artist
I am an artist
But I'm just a kid
And maybe I'll grow out of it.."

Bo Burnham
erzai7's avatar
without art....but only math and cant make an invention.....creative minds are the reason why we can ''invent'' a new form of style.....thats why many great artists are so genius...if you ask me...
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
Sophia28's avatar
M-G-Studio's avatar
Many people think that there's a difference between science and art, even though science leans towards the logical.. science still needs what every artist has and that is: imagination. Without imagination, no scientist could've thought of a theory or created an invention/cure. In fact, look at architects, engineers and almost all other "logical" careers. Majority of them all need a sense of imagination and creativity.
That's true. In Greek technology is a combined word from the word "τέχνη" (techni) which means art and "λόγος" (logos) which means spoken or written word and the whole word "τεχνολογία" (technologia) means the study on the methods that are used in application of technical knowledge. Da Vinci himself was both an artist and an inventor (and a great one, way ahead of his time).
M-G-Studio's avatar
That is pretty interesting. And you're right. Da Vinci was both an intellect and a creative. He was quite a force. I was actually watching a documentary on him the other day. There's a painting he did or helped with (can't remember now) that showed an angel coming to Mary to tell her that she'll give birth to Jesus and these scientists looked at the painting under an x-ray that they use for paintings and found that the angel disappears from the image when looked by an x-ray. They don't know what paint he used or anything. It's mind-blowing.
fractaljunkie's avatar
1. Do you believe your art advances the human condition?

When my beliefs about my art are addressed, it addresses my heart and much more than ink on paper, different forms of beauty in math that I enjoy iterating, or other more traditional physical forms of art. Some days, my art is how the cold wind manipulates my breath like a painter outside when I'm caught in a moment and how I might watch the leaves scatter in ways that remind me of my thoughts been carried away with that wind. Life is art, everything is art. I'm advancing my human conditions. I share more literal art with others that they make and that I make and at times that we make together, and through this comes an understanding of one another and ourselves as well as art itself. In that way, in my own small way, I am pitching in to advance the human condition. A lot of the basic groundwork for deep and critical areas of introspection that generally come parcel and package with the human condition has been laid for us by many great artists long gone, but we still explore those areas in new ways as part of the human condition is the pursuit of the kaleidoscope glasses, rose and green and the colors inbetween (and then some). Many times when there is a drive to pursue something such as an opportunity to create a literal or otherwise art, there's a choice between different purposes. As a human, I find myself with different purposes at different times. Sometimes the art of life for me is very emotionally-driven and my actions/thoughts are meaning-oriented. I might spill paints on a canvas because it would feel like suffocating not to do so. Other times, I might be fueled by a driving need to explore and I may try out a new technique that I have never tried. What can I do with this set of boundaries, what does my human condition look like if I force it into a box and what does it look like escaping that box? How did this technique or system come about in our species, what were bigger picture influences that morphed this through culture? To understand my species can be a part of understanding me, so in this way, at times I feel I also systematically affect my own pursuit of broadening my own human condition.

2. Do you believe that those with more creative rather than systems-oriented thought processes are destined to assume the leadership role at this point in human history? Do you see evidence of this happening already?

Destiny is a whole other can of worms. I don't mean can of worms in a bad way so much, it's important and interesting to talk about and think about. More to the point for this question, I want to address the notion that systems-oriented thinking cannot be creative. This was not stated, but a variation was kind of implied even with the precursor "more creative" to indicate different levels of logic vs creativity. It takes quite a bit of systems-oriented thinking to conjure up a custom and functioning DIY innovation such as an Arduino-controlled musical instrument. In this age, whatever age they'll actually be calling it hundreds of years from now, this age is one where the musician and the instrument inventor can be the same person. I think it is important for a successful leader to understand all the main elements of the human condition as well as important divides such as between mostly logical people and mostly creative people. I think it is also important for successful leaders of tomorrow to encourage ways that reduce divides such as that. In today's world, it's OK to be systems-based and creative at the same time. It doesn't mean you have to be, it just means we're finding more ways to accept ourselves and one another as we explore the future, our technologies, and those unique trinkets found in our condition. This is the age where Weird Al's UHF is actually real, you can spin fish on a wheel and click a button and get it out there for people that want to watch fish spinning on a wheel. You can blog about your weird food addiction, you can paint on Waffle House receipts and post them online for others to see, you can finally get around to inventing that thing you dreamt up as a kid and get it out there for others to build and even improve with you. This is our age. I don't know who the successful leaders or next leaders will be of tomorrow, but if they are primarily creative I hope they understand systems-thinking people and if they are systems-thinking primarily I hope they are also in touch with and celebrate their creative side. It takes more than paint to maintain something like, for instance, a gTLD management campaign.

3. Have you ever experienced a knee-jerk fear of advancing, accelerating technology "taking over" all human relevancy? Or have you always felt secure in technology remaining a tool serving a human master no matter how advanced the A.I. becomes?

No, I don't think it's going to pan out like that. That's part of my human condition and that silly thing about hope and the art of trying to live in an ephemeral body with a (soul?). It's entirely possible, we could Borg out and just be done in a matter of moments with no way to shut it all down before it's too late, but I think we'd have a "cascading failure" because of collective survivalist psychology inherent in our AI programming efforts either collectively on unconscious happenstance or because we're all just like "yeah let's not put in those lines of code that let it say 'I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave..'" This is another instance of me having to say something dorky and long-winded to be truthful about my view because I don't think our relationship with wherever we take AI will be better-than and less-than, it'll just be different. I think we'll get so good at fooling ourselves that we won't be able to tell whether we got AI to work or not. We already do that with recent Turing test applicants acing things with colorful language reminiscent of the human condition enough to do so. What's important to do is keep checking and maintaining upkeep with our purposeful relationship with our technology. Even if not sentimental, however we interact is a form of relationship. That doesn't imply anything I didn't say, though I would consider an android mate. Just saying. Still, whatever we do with technology is more important than how advanced we get at it. Take 3D printing, something that can appeal to both artists and engineers as well as artists who are also engineers and the reverse. It doesn't matter how clever we get in that department, how fast we can move along an axis, how miniscule we get our microns, how cheap and multi-functional we perfect the art and craft.. if all we ever print is keychains and combs, we're not going to actually go anywhere. But that's not the case. We're printing new face prosthetics for people that need them. New tools for the disabled. Pieces of art that come from the heart and not the aisles of Wal-Mart. It's all in the eye of the beholder. If we get an intimidating jump in technology and just have swarms of AI nanobot clouds traveling the solar system and making more nanobots and stations and machines and tools that make things, but by that time we're doing better at being civil mammals and we use that to do a less destructive subjective good based on the moralities imposed by our human condition, then we're golden. I don't care how quick you paint, you'll never paint technology away. It's here. And it can even be part of art. It takes creatives of all types to assume the responsibility of maintaining the technologies we've brought into the world. If technology somehow surpasses human relevancy, the way the human condition is expressed will still function but will morph to be relevant to technology. We do this already. We don't send love letters by the postal service anymore, we send multimedia through Facebook.

Are we at the apex of what is achievable technologically and now, as Auren Hoffman suggests, about to enter a Next Phase of human society beyond sheer survival emphasizing the arts?

4. I'll have to break this up into the multiple questions that it is. I think we are entering a next phase of our species where we shed much of skin related to sheer survival. I don't just hope but work towards and fully believe we will cure world hunger in my lifetime. We'll explore new terrains of ourselves and the human condition that have yet to be better mapped out by the Greats and understood by us all. I don't know what that is. What emotions do grasshoppers have? Are they the same, or different? I think even as we advance, we'll be returning to nature as well as the arts at the same time. I do think that art will continue to pick up pace. We've come a long way just from, say, 2005 in the arts and how easy it is for people to make and share and learn. And 2005 was a long stretch from, say, 1905. Just the past century has seen the arts exponentially pick up pace. I don't anticipate that will stop. Maybe one day technology and the arts will merge on a more natural level, where we watch a movie at night before going to bed that was conjured by our imagination as we brushed our teeth minutes before. Who knows what we'll see. I don't think it's a "this side versus that side" situation, however. The apex of human technology? Doubtful. The couple of months of what may seem a bit more stagnation than other times is basically everyone at their own drawing boards madly tackling technical issues with creative solutions inspired by the last batch of "What's new today." That'll pick up pace, too, and you're morning news will increasingly become obsolete to your evening news. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's all about what we do with our tools. Wrench or paintbrush, either can kill or thrill just the same.
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