Creativity in an Age of Connectivity

Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist working for Intel:

“MOBILE phone use and instant access to the internet from almost anywhere could be stifling creativity, according to Australian born cultural anthropologist, Genevieve Bell.

“I wonder if it means we don’t have enough time to imagine things”, Ms Bell told

“I think there’s something really powerful about one’s own imagination.

“We do a lot of consuming but where’s the moment where you develop your own point of view?

“Where’s the moment where you synthesize what you’ve been thinking about, where’s the moment where you react to it, where you create something that echoes it or that challenges it”.

“That’s a much harder thing to do.”

Ms Bell, who works for Intel in the US and who is presenting at the TEDx in Sydney this weekend said the purposes of humans and technologies often conflict and overlap.

There’s an inherent tension between all these mobile devices that work better when they’re constantly connected and human beings who work better when they’re intermittently disconnected”, Ms Bell told

In many ways Ms Bell says the internet is actual geared in a way that actually discourages people from innovating.

“Much of the current internet – particularly in Australia and the States, the internet itself physically is geared for download”, says Ms Bell.

“The through-point in the pipe – the fact that it’s a three to one, to five to one to seven to one 1 ratio of download to upload means the entire physical structuring of the internet is geared for you to constantly consume things.

“And I think because it’s so easy to get all this other stuff, it’s so easy to read other people’s opinions, it’s so easy to just go looking for one more source, go find one more thing and I love that right, I’m as guilty as the next person chasing that idea down that rabbit hole for quite some time.

“I think there’s something important about how we preserve at least the possibility of having our own thinking.

“Of being able to develop our own point of view of being able to have that moment of not just watching everything but kind of trying to think ‘what do we think about it’? What’s my opinion? What’s my point of view? Where’s the moment where I sit still and digest all of that rather than just go looking for the next thing?”

Click here to read the rest at the Herald Sun

Switched-on world is killing creativity, expert warns By Claire Connelly

In addition, press here to read an interview of Genevieve Bell at the New Scientist

Intel anthropologist: Fieldwork with the silicon tribe

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