What the f*#$ does a creative technologist do?
Honestly… I still have trouble explaining what I do to people. And everything in this post is purely my opinion, take it with a grain of salt.
But, back to the subject, living in 2019, there’s a plethora of emerging technologies that are now fairly easily accessible for individuals to get started with. Along with it, new mediums for artists + makers to explore. The three big ones in public discourse are Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and IoT (which allows for creations of interactive physical spaces that can respond and shift according to the behaviors of those in it). But there are 3D printers, BCI (brain computer interfaces), laser cutters, and the list goes on as well. Some of these have been around for a while but only in recent years have they become cheap enough for almost anyone to take advantage of these tools.
A creative technologist is someone who tackles solving problems utilizing a mix of technology and design. They work in the space of connecting dots (ideas) that weren’t previously connected. I’m reluctant to make any more generalizations to the definition because within the world of creative technology, there’s countless specializations that one can pursue, but overall I feel that this is what most creative techs I’ve talked to feel about their jobs.
For example, say you have an engineer background mixed with a love for water color painting. So one day, you decide to write a machine learning program fed with all of your past works. Then you begin a new series of paintings where you paint alongside your robot on the same canvas – analogy inspired by Sougwen Chung‘s work. Another creative tech could be less of a hardware person and chooses to paint in VR to create 3D hand drawn models — which can then be 3D printed into a little action figures. The world of creative technology is all about finding unusual solutions to solve problems. Which means, there are unlimited ways to break into the industry — it’s all on you to understand what your interests and skillsets lie and how they can come together new and weird ways.
For everyone who’s in school or just got into the working world, don’t be afraid to develop your own role/job because the “job” we’ll most likely end up diving into the deepest, probably doesn’t exist in the world yet — especially if you’re someone who identifies as a creative technologist — your dream job, will be one of your own design. An employer would rather have someone who is able to critically approach problems and come up with new solutions than someone who simply can only follow orders or is stuck within concrete approaches. So be bold! Carve out your own little space in this crazy exciting world. 🙂