Art and Technology - What's the difference?

In one of my previous posts, I drew attention to a TED talk given by Sir Ken Robinson detailing his views on education.  (Read it here.)

The main point he was getting at is that we should be giving the arts the same level of respect as we do the traditional powerhouses – science, maths and the like.  It is an ideal that really resonates with me and my post alluded to that fact.

I came across another great account which I believe frames the argument quite well.  I felt compelled to share it.

Kevin Kelly is an experienced writer and is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine.

In his book ‘What Technology Wants’ he brings up a fascinating parallel between technology and the arts:

“Even if we acknowledge that technology can exist in disembodied form, such as software, we tend not to include in this category paintings, literature, music, dance, poetry, and the arts in general.  But we should.  If a thousand lines of letters in programming code qualifies as a technology, then a thousand letters of English (Hamlet) must qualify as well.  They both change our behaviour, alter the course of events, or enable future inventions.  A Shakespeare sonnet and a Bach fugue, then, are in the same category as Google’s search engine and the iPod: They are something useful produced by a mind.”

If we pride ourselves in intellectual excellence in the fields of Science, Maths and Technology – why do the Arts not deserve the same focus?  Why do we force these topics down the throats of children whose passions don’t lie there?  The children who might actually better serve our society through dance, or Art, or Poetry.

Don’t they deserve that?

Just something to think about.