In film editor Walter Murch’s famous book, “In the Blink of an Eye”, he discusses the industry pre-digital advancement, and how analog systems benefited the craft.
Back when editors had to manually splice together pieces of film, there wasn’t an incredibly efficient way to review or find specific scenes. You had to watch through 10 or 15 minutes of film roll before finding what you were looking for.
Murch writes that being constantly exposed to different parts of the footage had an impact on his art. During his search, he would inevitably be exposed to other scenes, and sometimes discover new or different shots that he’d rather use.
He likens this phenomenon to the source of Picasso’s famous quote, “I do not seek, I find,” where an artist does not pummel through until their original vision is executed, but rather tries to “see” different ways of doing something, until finally the “right” way is discovered.
So what does this have to do with Google? Well, Google makes it a business to know exactly what we mean when we type in “the song with lyrics about thongs” and deliver in milliseconds exactly the results we’re looking for.
This might be an incredibly detrimental tool for the creative mind. If I’m never exposed to anything except my original idea, I’ll never have the chance to discover a new way of doing something. Efficiency has its benefits, but in the search for information that Google has strived to streamline, will the information I wasn’t seeking ever have the chance to reach me?