M Wrathall: One of the dangers of technology is that it relieves us of the burden of having to develop skills. Technology is always sold as a labour saving device. When you buy the latest technology for cooking, the promise is that you can cook as well as a master without any of the skills the master has and that goes for everything, with music as well. So, all of us now today, can enjoy music of a quality unimaginable to most people in the history of the world, in the comfort of our homes, with very little cost and very little effort. That’s a great promise! Who would give up on that pleasure of hearing music in that way? But the danger is that we give in to the seductions of technology to the degree that we lose all of these skills.
I Thomson: The internet is actually a much better example because what the internet is doing is: it’s basically transforming all reality into information.
H Dreyfus: Everything on the internet is equal. You can have the most important information right next door to the most trivial; you can find out on Twitter what your friends had for breakfast and you can find out also that there were 100 people killed in Iraq that day. With Google you can find anything and you can go on Wikipedia and you can get any facts about anything and that is in certain ways terrific if you just use it for something relevant. But if you think that’s just the best thing in the world, just to have more and more information, more and more transformable stuff, more and more applications for your iPhone, that make it able to do more and more things and that’s just what it is all about, everything gets levelled; there’s no meaningful differences any more between what’s important and not important, what’s trivial and what’s crucial, what’s relevant and irrelevant; it’s all reduced to just more information.
C Taylor: If you want to really be efficient, you really don’t want this kind of, you know, interference – “Hey this is Sunday or this is Christmas” or something – you just can’t stop that or “This is the middle of night, what do you think you are doing?” No! ’24 X 7′ is one of the great great achievements of our civilisation. Things, some things, go on all the time, are available all the time. And it is very handy! You know, three o’clock in the morning, I can rush to my computer and I can google and nobody is going to say to me on the screen “This is not available, this page is not available because you are supposed to be sleeping”. No, they are going to give it me. So it’s absolutely great. I benefit from it myself but you can see what this is doing. What it is doing is that it is making us look at time as something that is infinitely usable and extensible – it doesn’t matter when it is I can access, right? – as against being forced back into understanding that there are times that are just different, that have a different quality. It’s not appropriate to use them in this way.
M Wrathall: And it is true that is changes us. So we have to become the kind of people who are satisfied with the sort of commodities that are delivered to us. You can imagine people who really are connoisseurs of jazz music, who really understand that one of the great things about jazz music is the way the musicians are responding to the performance hall, and the audience, and the particular musicians that are there, and the weather and whatever accidents that are happening. The jazz musicians are incorporating it into their performance.
J Smith: Responding to the other musicians is one of the most important things.
R Cross: In playing together, you will hear that in the music; where the piano plays something, the bass will react, the drums are playing and the trumpet will jump in. You are interacting with everything. Everything is part of what you are trying to get to. Anything can change what’s happening. A cell phone goes off and all of a sudden, it is like “Oh”, you know, Cat might make fun of it on the piano or even on the trumpet or whatever it is and it all becomes part of the performance.
M Wrathall: And you as a listener, are a skilful listener and have the bodily dispositions to pick up on that, you would never be satisfied by listening to a recorded jazz performance on CD because that’s not the performance that would be optimal for your bedroom or living room. But technology also makes the sort of flexible people who are satisfied with a sort of cheap imitation of all the goods that deeply skilful practices deliver.
– Being in the World (imdb)