To Err Is…Human?

This is eerie: Kottke.org explains the phenomenon of “miss-mixing,” a growing trend wherein DJs intentionally make mistakes mixing tracks together to show that they’re doing it manually and not using the computer.  Jason’s comments on it are intriguing:

As computers get better at things like DJing, cooking, writing, and the like, imperfection may become a mark of human-produced goods and media. In the future, we’ll be urged to buy not just hand-made but Human Made™ the way people go for American made, locally made, organic, artisanal, or vintage goods nowadays. The problem, as Tyler Cowen notes, is if computers are smart enough to DJ, they’re certainly clever enough to be a little sloppy too.

In William Gibson’s novel All Tomorrow’s Parties, there’s a scene where a former businessman, now living in a squalid tent with a half-naked old man who’s a master at building Gundam models, imagines the point the old man’s work might be making:

Laney has a theory that the old man is a sensei of kit-building, a national treasure, with connoisseurs shipping in kits from around the world, waiting anxiously for the master to complete their vintage Gundams with his unequaled yet weirdly casual precision, his Zen moves, perhaps leaving each one with a single minute and somehow perfect flaw, at once his signature and a recognition of the nature of the universe. How nothing is perfect, really. Nothing ever finished. Everything is process, Laney assures himself, zipping up, settling back into his squalid nest of sleeping bags.

In a world where perfection is achievable through technology, will human imperfection become the ultimate hallmark of quality?  I see this becoming something of an emergent trend across a variety of different spheres–industry, academia, art.  Imperfection is what makes things interesting, and the rarer it becomes–in artwork and products, at least–perhaps the more true it will be.

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