Creative Coders are the Celebrities of the Future
And Why You Should Want to Become One
I'm gonna make a prediction here.
Creative Coders are the celebrities of the future.
What is a Celebrity? Why would I want to be One?
"Scientists themselves are not always aware of the political, economic and religious interests that control the flow of money; many scientists do, in fact, act out of pure intellectual curiosity." - Sapiens, Yuval Harari
Scientists have a hard time capturing the value they create for society, and their contributions don't get attributed to their names.
Who created the first antibiotic, penicillin? (answer is at the bottom of the post)
A) Louis Pasteur
B) Alexander Fleming
C) Marie Curie
Hard, right? Society rewards entertainment and novelty (see all reality tv shows for proof). The physical sciences are quite dry. They don’t provide that level of entertainment that society craves (even though there is crossover like Richard Feynman).
A pop icon is a celebrity, character or object whose exposure in popular culture is regarded as constituting a defining characteristic of a given society or era.
In other words, the person themself becomes the value. Have you ever wondered why A-List actors do commercials for toothpaste and get paid tens of thousands of dollars to endorse brands? The Rock is a great actor, but he also makes money because he's The Rock and his face has a dollar value attached to it.
In 2020, everyone has the potential of gaining fame on the internet. Kids are getting tens of millions of views dancing on TikTok. People are becoming memes for a thing they said in passing. Streamers are making millions playing video games.
The cult of celebrity is wider and shallower than it's ever been, now that everyone can run their own media distribution network out of their one bedroom apartment in Tulsa.
The downsides of fame and attention are amortized in a world where everyone has a social media presence. A nameless person can be "cancelled" without even knowing what they did wrong. Managing one's identity on the internet is more art than science, whether your follower count is ten or ten million.
An effect of this is that now engineers and those invested in building can now be known worldwide for their contributions.
Thanks to the Internet, patronage is no longer the deep pockets of one wealthy person, it's the attention of a thousand people spread out worldwide.
The Gap in The Market
Have you heard of Algoraves? Unless you're within the creative coding community, you probably haven't. Algoraves are live coding shows, where people will use tools like TidalCycles to create synths in realtime.
These communities are small, and lack the mainstream acceptance of other art forms. I think this is due to a miscommunication of what code actually is.
To many, code is simply a vehicle to make websites or apps. It is an abstraction, a tool that helps achieve a goal. Many believe coding lacks the expression of other art forms.
Technology is at an inflection point.
It's everywhere in our day to day lives, but very few know how to produce it (roughly 1/3 of 1% of the global population knows how to code).
As more people learn to appreciate coding as a tool and as an art form, the audience for creative coding as an art form will grow.
The intersection of code and art is still unexplored, so members of the creative coding community today get a head start on learning the hard stuff.
Me, You and Everyone You Knew
The world is a very efficient place. Copying others is a poor strategy. I'd rather listen to the best pianist in the world than 500 average ones that imitate the best player.
Code, by nature, is hard to “copy”. If it runs on my machine, it runs on yours too. The code itself is not valuable, it is the thought process behind the code.
Thought processes cannot be copied.
Finally, and arguably most importantly, as technology continues to accelerate, creative coders will adapt to the new tools on the market since code is so flexible. Computers will continue to co-evolve with humanity, and those that speak the lingo of the machine will be able to have a deeper understanding of the technical landscape.
The methods may change, but the underlying concepts stay the same. These upgrades come for free!
Artists can now tell their stories to people across the world instantly. As the world becomes more decentralized, and it becomes easier to create and share, it becomes more difficult for an individual to distinguish themselves against the noise.
At the same time that this is happening, we're moving into an era that is deeply invested in the medium of immersive computing. Because of this, people who understand both sides of the coin of art and technology have a competitive advantage.
Add these all together, and you have a concoction prime for explosion. The accelerating rate of technological coevolution with humans means that those who can use it to tell stories will be able to leverage their work to receive patronage.
Being in tech doesn't mean that your only value is creating tools that others use. Being an artist no longer means that you are subservient to the ways that your tools are created.
The intersection is being explored and those who understand it deeply will be acknowledged.
*the answer is B, btw :)