Technology Has Added Layers of Complexity

Dear Friends,

My name is Dustin Kuhns, I serve as the Director of Creative Content at C4C. In practice—although we all wear many hats—I oversee the editorial process of our podcast and lead our web development team. In contemplation, I spend substantial time reflecting on the relationship of art and design to the vision of Teilhard and Sr. Ilia.

The unbridled proliferation of communication technology has added layers of complexity to the work of artists and designer. Most creatives cannot afford to invite informed audiences into nuanced reflections on virtue or imaginative futures. Many put food on the table by simply “increasing engagement at all costs.”

I am afraid of what this cost will be when the debt comes due. We all have become maladjusted to images and content which train our minds to serve divisive ends. Exercising self-control, intentionality and patience in this relentless virtual environment is exhausting.

Inspired by Sr. Ilia’s theological vision, C4C is an archetypal organization in a transitional period of our species’ history. Informed by progressive theological wisdom, we can engage contemporary movements innovatively, cultivating future-oriented communities of hope and love.

Throughout our June Fundraiser, we will be using AI generated art. In the piece here, AI was asked to render a cubist illustration of humans tending to an overgrown electronic garden. Following Torah’s Adam and Eve, “cultivation” remains a distinct homo sapiens capacity. Our contemporary minds might benefit from exercising this species-old intuition, developed in the biological wild, to life among technology’s diversifying forms.

A thoughtful, well-designed web presence is pivotal to advancing our global mission. Together, we can continue to strengthen the resolve of our species, and embrace the evolutionary pressures of technology and artificial intelligence.

Thank you for your lasting support.

Dustin Kuhns
Director of Creative Content

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4 Comments

  1. Kay Jackson on June 6, 2023 at 5:48 am

    For me, the Arts are ” the canary in the coal mine”. For millennia, art represented passion. Whether dance, storytelling, crafts, ( beadwork, jewelry, pottery),form and function met imagination and Spirit was incarnated within reality. Expressed for sharing across the expanding generations.

    With AI playing the role of Creator we are committing the gifts of Spirit to ” still life” and submitting us to lives without our uniquely human expression of passion. Other animals may express emotions yet self reflection and expression of that self reflection remain are our responsibility. Our gift to the Universe.

    Human passion is conceived through joy and pain. Longing. Yearning. With AI, our uniqueness and ability to connect to and relate with the unbridled flow of collective consciousness is delegated to artificial “life”. Have we now become so busy with busyness that being awake, being HUMAN, is something else given away? Freely given away?

    I am not saying AI is without purpose. Quite the contrary. AI is vitally important to manufacturing, science, and medicine.
    Yet, wherever human touch and delivery of Spirit is needed humanity must willingly share this vital energy needed by and for another. No matter the plasticity of synthetic skin, that skin is devoid of life and empty.The ” plastic Jesus mounted” on the “dashboard” of life.

  2. John O'Donnell on June 5, 2023 at 10:28 pm

    I found it interesting (and a little disappointing) that you asked AI to ‘create’ (perhaps ‘compose’ might be better) an illustration of struggle with overgrowing technicality ‘in the Cubist style’. The mechanical- geometric nature of Cubism would have caused AI to lick its mechanical lips! But the human aspect of human-created Cubism is about relationships and complementarity. Because the content or meaning of the illustration requested has an element of the human emotion of frustration and pain, I would have thought a request for Expressionism would have been more appropriate and more challenging for our artificially intelligent friend. Art is a human expression, just as in poetry, dance, music, and other arts. I believe AI is capable of ‘illustration’, limited by its intelligence. But for the expression of emotion and feeling, by definition, it needs a human artist.

  3. Joe Masterleo on June 5, 2023 at 7:21 am

    Much thanks, Dustin, for your digital creativity in enhancing the C4C website, including the cubist expression above. While moving forward under the influence of the florid “complexity factor” our world is caught up into today, keep its dynamic tension with the simplicity factor in mind as well. All digital imagery, like the variety of all created imagery, flows or streams from the same core energy that shape-shifts into multiple expressions and forms, or incarnations. Thus, all imagery is pure (light) energy at its core before it takes on a shape or form. Energy is to form, what kataphatic is to apophatic. The former (complex) is derived from and meant to lead to the latter (simple) as the substance of itself everywhere, especially in contemplative living. The simple things are the most profound, reducible to one thing at root. All things are one thing in God.

  4. Mark R. Turner on June 4, 2023 at 2:53 pm

    Hi, Dustin.
    I suggest you consider how C4C may be adding to the cost of the debt coming due by employing the easy AI art instead of engaging real, breathing artists who are looking for places to contribute their actual creative gifts. It is easier to get a more “objective” visual by verbal specifications fed into the system, than to relate to messy human artists, if that is all you want.
    Mark

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