In The Smart Phone Have Nots, the New York Times’s Adam Davidson considers the role of technology in the American economy:
“The rise of networked laptops and smartphones and their countless iterations and spawn have helped highly educated professionals create more and more value just as they have created barriers to entry and rendered irrelevant millions of less-educated workers, in places like factory production lines and typing pools. This explanation, known as skill-biased technical change, is so common that economists just call it S.B.T.C. They use it to explain why everyone from the extremely rich to the just-kind-of rich are doing so much better than everyone else.”
If I were an economist or sociologist—meaning that, if I abandoned my current work at the intersection of art and technology, “retrained,” and returned to study my former self—I would look closely at how skill-biased technical change (S.B.T.C.) informed (were in the future here, remember) not only the art market and art history itself, but what made art and its market both possible and necessary. How did technology itself enable the creation and distribution of certain kinds of art, thereby changing the definition of art itself? How did those working in newly-emerging fields influence that shift—and its economic implications?
How did technology itself enable the creation and distribution of certain kinds of art, thereby changing the definition of art itself? Great question.