Is this the end of human cultural progress?

Saturday, February 25, 2017 by anotherside | Discussion: Life, the Universe and Everything

This is a purely speculative post. I don't have the answers, but I have questions. 

I was talking with a friend. He said he believed all music that was worth listening to was already created. I kind of agreed. We have classical music, rock, punk, grunge, heavy metal, electronic, instrumental and even awful music like dubstep.

I think the era is gone when a piece of music could influence a generation and stand the test of time.

In short: I don't expect to hear anything new that hasn't been done before. But there is a wealth of music already produced so maybe it's not a big deal.

 

I am going to list a few other areas that I think have peaked and my thoughts:

Desktop software: I think this is it. The desktop paradigm is not as strong as 10 years ago. “Progress” is happening in the mobile/cloud space. I don't think we will see new desktop applications we haven't seen before.

Skins/theming: There is an abundance of high quality, inspirational skins already produced. Actually I am amazed that the skinners here at Wincustomize continue to produce high quality skins/styles.

However I have a hard time imagining a totally new skin/style that hasn't been done before. Same goes for wallpapers. There are already millions of high quality wallpapers covering a wide spectrum of personal preferences.

Home electronics: We already have huge hi-resolution TV-sets, projectors and multi-channel sound. 3D for those that like that sort of thing. There are smart homes for those that wish to control their home like it's just another device. Now it's about incremental improvements. The big jump was from tube-TVs to flatscreens.

 

Areas where cultural progress seem possible:

Games: I think there will be progress in gaming/games. There are many more factors to play with. There is a technological factor that drives innovation. There are sound, visual elements and movement.

Artificial Intelligence: This is something that is just starting to take off. A lot of human interaction will be with AI in the future. Good or bad? Probably both.

Virtual Reality: This might become big when tech is ready. But do we want it?

Movies: Hollywood will continue to produce movies until the end of time. Some of them will be worth watching.

 

Summary: I think human “cultural” progress will largely be tech-based (including useful things like 3D printers and self-driving cars). The “fine arts” are dying (things created just to be beautiful). There will always be artists, but how do you create something outstanding that hasn't been done before?

Simple examples: I don't expect to see a new car that is more beautiful than a car that has already been created. I don't expect to hear music “that I haven't heard before”. I don't expect to see a new skin/theme that is “a new look”.

Everything has already been created... if not, where do you see room for improvement?

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Publius of NV
Reply #21 Sunday, February 26, 2017 6:43 PM

Ecclesiastes (King James Version):

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

So in some sense, there is really nothing new under the sun, including this thread.  Some things don't change - human nature, for one (except perhaps on an evolutionary time scale).

But in another sense, can anyone argue that there has been nothing new in over 2000 years?  In the 1800s many scientists were convinced that Newtonian Mechanics explained all of physics.  Then came relativity, quantum mechanics, etc.

While I'm a child of the 60s and 70s, and agree that most of today's music is crap, I find a few things that I do like.  And my parents were saying the same thing about rock and roll back then.

As far as Hollywood goes, it has been argued that there are really only about 7 basic plots, and all literature and film are just variations on them.  Still, I found Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to be enjoyable retellings of the Hero's Journey.

Sturgeon's Law applies: ninety percent of everything is crap.

Edit: Arrgh, attempt to indent the block quote seems to have messed up the formatting of the whole post.

starkers
Reply #22 Sunday, February 26, 2017 7:15 PM

Chasbo


Quoting starkers,

In terms of music, it has all been done before and there's nothing new under the sun.  However, very little after the 70's - 80's is worth listening to.... while in terms of pop/rock, the 60's was the absolute best.  As for genres/styles of music, there are/were some bloody woeful ones...




Starkers this is your opinion. In the 60's there was some god awful music.

There's always been good and bad of EVERYTHING at any time in human existence.

I know people my age group, let's say 55 to 65 years old, that only listen to classic rock. That's fine but there's been a lot of music made before the classic rock age and there's been a lot made since. Some of it has been pure genius and some pure shit. 

It boils down to what you like. What he likes. What she likes. What I like.

I have my own tastes but others may or may not like what I like.

I don't really give a rats ass.

 

I was born in '53 and grew up with music from the 20's; 30's; the swinging forties and 50's, so I like jazz, swing, blues, and early rock' n roll from the 50's.  My father listened to all these styles/genres as a matter of lifestyle, so I came to appreciate the Tommy Dorsey big band era as well as early rock 'n roll, Frank Sinatra and even Doris Day.

I was a teenager in the 60's and grew up with the so-called 'British Invasion' but on home soil, so I lived with the Beatles; Stones; Cream; The Who; Ten Years After, etc, and 99.9999% of it was good Yes, there was some woeful music produced back then as well, but it wasn't as constant or commonplace as it is today.  In other words, bad music back then was more a rarity, whereas now it's good music that's the rarity.

I also like music across several genres from the 70's, 80's and 90's... even some into the 2000's, so it's not like I'm stuck back in the 60's and closed minded to everything else.  I quite like some modern-day heavy metal, plus the more traditional artists who perform general pop and rockof the modern era.

So yeah, I have a fairly wide ranging taste when it comes to music.  I know what I like and don't like, but of the stuff I don't like, it isn't just my opinion. Given the 100's of music conversations I've had across a broad spectrum of people of varying ages, many others share it, too.... like the dozens of young folk I know who don't like rap crap, electronic dance 'music' or the current dubstep craze.

neone6
Reply #23 Sunday, February 26, 2017 8:21 PM

the_Monk

If you're not happy with whatever I inferred from/attributed (the entirety of my reply and not just one line) to your statement of " YEAH RIGHT" then maybe leave less to the imagination next time and be more specific.
Yeah right

Jafo
Reply #24 Sunday, February 26, 2017 10:35 PM

'Piqued' - Spell checker 

[proof of cultural regression] ...

 

Jafo
Reply #25 Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:34 PM


Maybe, that is too much too ask. But as a WC staff member, you fail to deliver in my opinion. 

Thankyou for the compliment....

'Cultural Regression' - the loss of articulate thinking is but one component.

Understanding one's language and vocabulary is important if one wishes to advance one's culture and communicate same.

As for 'sometimes', you've been here for 10 months.  Your experience of interaction is thus limited...

Jafo
Reply #26 Monday, February 27, 2017 12:00 AM


I have no problem with you personally, just so you know.  

That's nice...now my life is complete...

However.  You suggest you are getting your 'knowledge' second-hand, which is at best rife with 'hidden agenda'.

I at one time had a Wiki entry describing me as "that Fascist bastard Admin of Wincustomize" - a phrase which is patently inaccurate....I have my parents' Marriage Certificate and My Birth Certificate....and there's no coincidence in dates......and if anything I'm [still] a Socialist.

The best indicator would be 'provenance'.  I'm still here 16 years after Wincustomize's birth.

 

Back to topic ...perhaps it's only those who think Evolution and Natural Selection are a 'crock of poo' who might suggest we're at some form of 'pinnacle', only going to devolve...but culture is in constant evolution/revolution and in spite of several blips of utter crappy-ness, even music is still evolving [mostly]...

admiralWillyWilber
Reply #27 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 4:14 AM

That was some nice posts funny! I imagine you are talking about something like that commadore pet computer that I thought was the greatest thing I saw at the time, not the abascus which is considered the worlds first computer by a lot of experts. I would like to trump the comadore with the internet, social media, and streaming in the software department. Smart phones and tablets in the hardware department. So computers weren't the last great inventions. Some might the invention of the rocket, airplanes, and automobiles just a few in recent times are more significant than computers. In music I'm only naming five it is kind of hard to name only five for each decade. 70's Iron maiden, Pink floyd, black sabbath, Judas Priest, and Alice cooper. 80's The who is fine, ozzy osbourne, Mettalica, Slayer, queens ryche. 90's Korn, pearl jam, alice n chains, stone temple pilots, and Jackle. 2000's came creed, tool, disturbed, lincoln park, and godsmack. I like all theese groups. I might say the world has not changed much since the 70's I'm in my forties.

Jafo
Reply #28 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 7:01 AM

admiralWillyWilber

70's Iron maiden, Pink floyd, black sabbath, Judas Priest, and Alice cooper.

Floyd was the 60's.... very much Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn ...

psychoak
Reply #29 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 8:28 AM

Some people need to get out more...

 

Desktop software isn't art, regardless of what the creators like to think.  It's a chair, table, a functional object with a purpose.  The desktop will eventually achieve a form that people stick with, throwing minor changes in just to piss people off, like Metro.  You're seeing the reduction of volatility in design that comes with a new product maturing.  Think of cell phones, they started off as huge bricks, then got absurdly tiny and ended up being just as inconvenient to use.  We had flip phones, slide out keypads, strange combinations of the two that were downright stupid.  Now they're all pretty much the same, a flat rectangle of practical dimensions with a locked touch screen.  Any product you can think of matures into something easily recognizable and largely identical to it's predecessors once it's creators run out of ideas to improve it.

 

Actual art doesn't really have a practical application, it's art.  It can't reach a plateau where it becomes "perfect" and no longer has room to evolve.  99% of it has always been iterating off the past and bouncing around, kinda like fashion.  It's the remaining 1% that actually comes up with something truly unique, but not shit.

 

There are major problems with the arts going forward, but they're legal ones.  Copyright laws will severely hamper musicians by eventually locking down every possible musical phrasing you can use, resulting in lawsuits galore any time someone writes something that isn't directly ripping off either their own previous work, or a pre-copyright work.  Oh right, that's already happening...

 

 

ZombiesRus5
Reply #30 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 11:27 AM

You left off patents too. There won't be any new patents because everything that can be invented has been invented...

DaveBax
Reply #31 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 12:18 PM

ZombiesRus5

You left off patents too. There won't be any new patents because everything that can be invented has been invented...

Wow. People have no idea what the hell is really going on in the World.  But what they think and say is the only truth. Yea right.

One company in the USA. What? Yes, just one company. This was for 2016 only. Oh, did I say one company only out of millions.

IBM earned a total of 8,088 U.S. patents last year, 2016 at a rate of 22 patents per day.

Here is one more for the fun of it.

Canon with a whopping 3,665 patents granted last year 2016 alone.

Daiwa
Reply #32 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 12:49 PM

We're into micropatents now.

DaveBax
Reply #33 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 12:55 PM


We're into micropatents now.

Sounds like that may be what I am. All my normal patents have run out.

admiralWillyWilber
Reply #34 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 12:56 PM

I thought we were talking using an invention the desktop is a small part of a computer. What is art is a relative statement depending on the culture.

Uvah
Reply #35 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 1:03 PM

All this legal stuff fraggles me. 

admiralWillyWilber
Reply #36 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 1:05 PM

Making be Leary of stealing  other people's music has hampered an appreciation of a style of music, and it shows in music.

SilasOfBorg
Reply #37 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 2:23 PM

Publius of NV

Ecclesiastes (King James Version):

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.


So in some sense, there is really nothing new under the sun, including this thread.  Some things don't change - human nature, for one (except perhaps on an evolutionary time scale).

But in another sense, can anyone argue that there has been nothing new in over 2000 years?  In the 1800s many scientists were convinced that Newtonian Mechanics explained all of physics.  Then came relativity, quantum mechanics, etc.

While I'm a child of the 60s and 70s, and agree that most of today's music is crap, I find a few things that I do like.  And my parents were saying the same thing about rock and roll back then.

As far as Hollywood goes, it has been argued that there are really only about 7 basic plots, and all literature and film are just variations on them.  Still, I found Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to be enjoyable retellings of the Hero's Journey.

Sturgeon's Law applies: ninety percent of everything is crap.

QFT

Music (and ideas, for that matter) are copied, sampled, tweaked, spun, and given to so many permutations that I think only someone with little or no imagination could say, "that's it, we're done" in broadest terms.

starkers
Reply #38 Tuesday, February 28, 2017 10:28 PM



Quoting admiralWillyWilber,

70's Iron maiden, Pink floyd, black sabbath, Judas Priest, and Alice cooper.



Floyd was the 60's.... very much Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn ...

Floyd WAS/IS 60's + 70's + 80's + 90's + 2000's... same as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, etc.

 

psychoak

There are major problems with the arts going forward, but they're legal ones. Copyright laws will severely hamper musicians by eventually locking down every possible musical phrasing you can use, resulting in lawsuits galore any time someone writes something that isn't directly ripping off either their own previous work, or a pre-copyright work. Oh right, that's already happening...

Yeah, it is already happening, though the abundance of 'claims' have only happened in the last 10 - 20 years or so, when is seems fashionable to sue for plagiarism and copyright theft, etc.   Thing is, if you wrote some music in the 60's and somebody 'copied' it or parts thereof in the 70's, why do you wait until 2000 and something to make your allegation[s]?

I recall somebody accusing Led Zeppelin of stealing a Grateful Dead tune to create Stairway to Heaven, but it was a frivolous claim and was clutching at straws, just as many other music copyright claims have been... and will continue to be. 

Sadly, some musicians will hear a couple of bars of a new [or old] song and jump to the conclusion "Oi, that's MY music", when in fact it isn't, it's just similar.  And I have to wonder just how many lawyers worldwide are sick of chasing ambulances, who are now trawling through music to find similarities and calling up various musicians to say 'We just found that 'so n' so' has ripped off your music and my law firm will to represent you.' ?

Uvah
Reply #39 Wednesday, March 1, 2017 10:24 AM

A lawyer by any other name, be it ambulance chaser or music chaser or symbol chaser, is still a lawyer and they all chase the $.

 

c242
Reply #40 Wednesday, March 1, 2017 12:30 PM

There is myriads of genres out there to discover of You come away from 70s rock and stop listening to the 125th same sounding Rolling Stones album.

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