Everyone is raving about the new lego app, which allows you to take a picture of a pile of lego, then it helps you work out what you could build from the pile. I can’t argue that it’s innovative, but only from a technical perspective. And like many technical innovations it is yet another robot slave that we must keep in its place.
Here’s is an article on the app: https://www.fastcompany.com/90652594/got-a-pile-of-random-lego-this-amazing-app-tells-you-what-you-can-build
What is creativity anyway?
Essentially it’s to bring into existence something new. We may recycle old things, remix and repurpose, but the output is an altogether new thing. Creativity is the engine of innovation that leads to technical, and commercial breakthroughs. Analysis alone cannot make the leaps required.
So, why isn’t this app creative?
- The app steals the experience of, and ability to count & analyse.
- It only suggests designs that are already known by the app creators.
- It teaches children NOT to think, instead to use the tool, and follow the instructions. Also teaches that scope is set by others.
- It lauds reductionism and optimisation which are the trademarks of Technocratic Anti-humanism.
- Functionally the app uses analysis and comparison to what is known, rather than synthesis to create something new (humans should be doing this part. Synthesis, Sensemaking, Creation, Judgement).
On the upside, if we think of the app as the starting place. It can be an inspiration not a set of limiting instructions like you would find when building an Ikea table. The website https://www.ikeahackers.net/ includes hundreds of weird and wild creations that have taken the instructions as the starting place, not as the destination.
Also the app does a fantastic job of showcasing the state of technology today, which if given the right master to serve is a powerful thing.
I hope the app is able to inspire and provide the spark to get started. Which is the thing that so often stifles creativity. I only hope it doesn’t displace the whole process thereby taking away more and more of the lived experience, and dulling of our creative edge.
You may enjoy this talk: Kurt Vonnegut describing how we must not let technology stop us on our own paths of becoming.
It starts at the relevant part, but the whole talk is well worth the hour.