Future Artists Will Be Mute

Dave Winer’s excellent post today It’s What They Don’t Say reminded me of a conversation I had with him several years ago, before he sold his Berkeley house and moved back east.  We were taking a walk on a sunny day, and chatting about technology and culture.

Of course I told him about a concept I’d been developing, which I called “Fanpulse,” that fused a lot of my ideas, and I shared that I believed in the future, great artists would be mute. He slowed his pace, then stopped. “Can I quote you on that?”

Dave is one of the most powerful thinkers I know. And, I don’t mind saying, I was flattered.

In the future, great artists will be mute because it will be commonplace for everyone to have their own “megaphone”. They will be able to express their every thought, desire, or displeasure, in real-time online. Adding to the noise is fruitless. It will be the powerful listeners, using their technical and perceptual skills to build platforms, who will be this century’s great artists. Paradoxically, these artists work by enabling the creativity and expression of others (or at least fostering a feeling of having free expression.)

These artistic listeners will conduct a vast sea of voices into a collective whole. Those who can “take the pulse of the fan” will be the new vanguard. And they won’t open their mouths to speak. They will be “mute.”


Entrepreneur and inventor, Ann Greenberg, co-founded Gracenote, a leading metadata and Automatic Content Recognition service (acquired by Sony, 2008.)  Gracenote answers half a billion queries daily and is embedded in over one billion consumer electronic, software and automotive devices.  At her new company, Sceneplay, Greenberg is building a cloud-based collaborative video storytelling platform, based upon her inventions.  Greenberg also co-founded ION, which pioneered the enhanced CD format and early interactive cinema systems. Before starting her own companies, she headed marketing for Academy Award winning, Pressman Films.

A somewhat longer version of this post appeared previously on Ann’s blog here: http://blog.anngreenberg.com/

Follow Ann on Twitter @Sceneplay

3 Responses

  1. And then, at least for life as it is today, one has to remember that not everybody in the mind is noble and many are quite willing to take the work with-in the mind and that which originated from somebody else and use it for personal profit>

    One of the questions with the mute artist idea is the idea that one can no longer claim a profit for their works. This could take the livelihood from many now, I think.
    However, I am open and always have been to talk on this but there is much to consider in what you are speaking of.

    The minds may develop far beyond what we are now, but the hearts are not always so noble.
    I just read quote by Picasso that says “good artists copy, great artists steal’. I happen to diagree and though we are in a sense speaking of two different things my opinion is that if they have to steal, they are neither true artists, nor great. It is a bit like a scientist stealing the main works and blueprints of another, like Edison did with Tesla at one time, and calling it theirs.

    I think on the whole we are going to be diminishing the mind of the true artist and the individual mind and work because anybody can then get in and take what they want and use it for their own profit or claim to fame. A true artist is not so much worried about the fame while working but the work itself.
    The work itself should always take higher priority to the fame or the profit

  2. I can see that occurring. the artist simply listens to the others in the stream giving advice and goes from there. It certainly has its place, especially if one is seeking to attract the eye of the majority or to tell a story, by whatever medium, that others know more about.

    it is nice in its place. and I would be the last one to argue over it in the whole. My talents are not the best to allow me to use this technique…i.e….my hand in painting does not always get the picture the way I hear or see it, but I give my best and call it practice.
    On the other hand, I am also very protective about my work and usually, for instance when using an oil medium, I prefer to let the canvas itself reveal what is there.

    you are looking, in the aspect that you are speaking of, for strictly team players I think, and though it has its place I would hope that the field would also keep open those who simply offer and respect and support the solitary.
    This I guess would depend if one is seeking to be in the majority or does not mind being in the minority…most of our greatest minds operated outside of the hurd mind and went against what everybody else said was not possible or would not work. If not for these people who were willing to step out of that stream mind we would not have our classic works nor our great inventions of today. And it is all an art when it includes invention and new thinking.
    I could be misunderstanding, but it sounds as though you are speaking of group mind talk in the arts. I know that it exists, but/and I also know that the best are not insistent and demanding and that there must be room to step out of the stream for the new to materialize.
    I suppose it very much depends if one is looking to be and remain in the majority or willing to be in the minority.
    Team art works and is quite interesting and exciting in the mind realm, but don’t relinquish completely the solitaire. At least, I never will, at what ever cost it takes.
    But then, we all change as we grow and grow older and one never knows…although we can imagine what tomorrow holds. And, as many scientists admit, it is the imagination that creates.

  1. August 8, 2013

    […] Peter Dave Winer’s excellent post today It’s What They Don’t Say reminded me of a conversation I […]

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