Crafts­man­ship vs. Tech­nol­ogy

HWM (Singapore) - - THINK - BY ZACHARY CHAN

Tech­nol­ogy is slowly, but surely creep­ing into ev­ery as­pect of our lives. It comes bear­ing gifts of mod­ern con­ve­nience and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence. Hu­mans, in the eyes of tech­nol­ogy are “dumb” meat things that need to be told left from right by the bright neon dis­plays of their “smart” gad­get masters. While we can all agree that life is a lot bet­ter with tech­nol­ogy, per­haps an­other an­gle to look at is the pass­ing of ar­ti­san crafts­man­ship from your gad­gets.

For ex­am­ple, no mat­ter how ad­vanced or sleek your nextgen­er­a­tion smart­phone may be, you can be sure that you’re not unique in own­ing one. With the tech in­dus­try now fo­cus­ing its eye on wear­able tech­nol­ogy, you will soon count watches and eye­wear and even clothes among this cat­e­gory. One can­not help but feel the ero­sion of the beauty and soul that goes that comes from ac­tual crafts­man­ship; re­placed by the cold, cal­cu­lat­ing in­tel­li­gence of a mi­cro­pro­ces­sor some­where track­ing your en­tire life.

You have walked 823 steps; you have con­sumed 312 calo­ries; you have 12 un­read mes­sages and so on.

Even per­sonal li­braries, once the pride and joy of ev­ery col­lec­tor— be it book, art or me­dia—have be­come im­per­sonal dig­i­tal lists that one lazily scrolls through with a flick of their fin­ger. And with the ease that we amass con­tent to­day, most of our dig­i­tal li­braries have prob­a­bly got­ten larger than what we can con­sume.

Just have a look at your grow­ing iTunes or Steam li­brary. How many al­bums and games have you bought that you will prob­a­bly never re­ally lis­ten to or play? In­stead of years of care­fully cu­rated con­tent that re­flects your in­ter­ests and per­son­al­i­ties—a craft in it­self—we now gob­ble up any­thing we can get our hands on just be­cause it’s an­other tick in our dig­i­tal foot­print.

But what if crafts­man­ship isn’t re­ally dead and that we’ve been look­ing at it all wrong? Tech­nol­ogy it­self can be art. There is beauty in the en­gi­neer­ing that goes into mak­ing the com­po­nents of your gad­gets; how mi­cro­pro­ces­sors keep get­ting smaller yet faster or how they con­tinue to put more and more pix­els into a cam­era sen­sor. There is also beauty in the cloud; like a great mind map of things that can in­stantly be re­called when you need it. If any­thing, the art of tech­nol­ogy is just as in­tri­cate as a mas­ter­work time piece. To ap­pre­ci­ate it, one can­not just look at the end prod­uct, but at all the thou­sands of com­po­nents tick­ing away be­low the sur­face just to achieve some­thing as sim­ple as telling the time.

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