As humans, we are constantly evolving and coming up with new ideas. Most ideas we have created actually stemmed from a previous idea before our time. Kirby Ferguson’s TedTalk and YouTube video highlights the idea that everything is a remix, that we are constantly copying, transforming, and combining old ideas to form new ones. He explains how creation requires influence. Every single thing we have created up to this point is based on something we saw or heard that peaked our interest in the subject or idea. In his TedTalk, Ferguson uses the example of people accusing Bob Dylan for stealing his songs from folk tunes, specifically the melodies. Although they were the same, Dylan clearly transformed the older songs to make them his own with different lyrics and a different sound, much like other musical artists have done such as Brian Burton.
Huge well-known companies such as Apple patented many of their ideas from companies like Xerox. In the early 70s, Xerox released the first modern personal computer, the Alto, which had graphical interfaces. Soon after Apple released two computers, the Lisa and Macintosh, which also had graphical interfaces much like Xerox’s. New ideas form by building off of the work other people have created. This happens everywhere whether it’s the discussions that occur during class sessions, musicians creating music, or when we review other essays, learning from what other people wrote and writing your own variation of those ideas. From an evolutionary perspective, we learn and grow a foundation of knowledge and understanding through copying. With this, over time we have constantly modified and improved our ideas to try and help benefit humanity.
In Digital Nation, produced by Rachel Dretzin and Douglas Rushkoff, we looked at the way our ideas about connecting with the world have evolved through technology, and how every aspect of our modern culture has transformed because of this. Technology has rapidly been taking over in our everyday lives in our jobs, schools, and the way we communicate with others. It has created easily accessible distractions that result in people needing to be stimulated in ways they have never needed to be before. Even when we are with people in person, it is common for everyone to just be on their phone half the time while sitting in the same room. Perhaps deeper relationships will become less common as this addiction to technology becomes more prevalent. Technology not used in moderation, can be extremely unhealthy especially when it is mainly used for just social media or games. However, it does have some positive aspects such as people being able to create multimedia expressions more cheaply and efficiently than ever before. People are also able to communicate with each other from thousands of miles away, or from a classroom. Technology will keep on being improved over the years and the new technology will be copied from the old technological advances, as discussed previously.
Overall, coming up with completely original ideas that have never been thought of before, is near impossible. Everything is a remix, and “new” things are just variations of “old” things. Though technology and everything seems to be constantly improving, it is important to remember that everything today has roots from the past that are copied, used, and improved upon.