Programming, Technology

Don’t waste your life playing Guitar Hero when you could be learning guitar for real

From computer scientist Alan Kay, at the Program for the Future conference:

The most disgusting thing I’ve seen recently in the form of trivia is a new controller for Guitar Hero which looks just like a Fender Strat/Stratocaster guitar and it costs 180 bucks, and it’s not a guitar. I can tell you, you can go to a guitar store and you can get an awfully playable guitar for 180 bucks. The idea that they’re selling this piece of crap so that people can pretend to do something that they haven’t been willing to sit down and learn how to do is just disgusting. But I believe it is the ill of our age, that people are– In the Bible, Esau sold his birthright for a cup of soup [“mess of pottage”, a co-panelist interjects]. I believe that’s basically what (especially Americans) are doing, is selling our potential for simple little cups of pottage over and over again.

This is an awesome quote. If I ever become a preacher, I’m going to use it. For now, I’ll just blog about it.

I was IM-ing with a newbie at work who was a music composition major. Though he was also a cellist, he just kept talking about sequencing, and I could tell that was his passion. As an acoustic instrumentalist, I think it’s sad. It would be better to use computers to compose music that could be played with real acoustic instruments offline. Or to learn how to play better (e.g. GarageBand has a built-in tuner that you can use to monitor your intonation). I think computers should help us become better at being humans when we’re disconnected. If we were going to have a power crisis or if we were hit with some electromagnetic pulse bomb that disabled our electronics, would what we have done on the computer have enriched our lives and equipped us for life sans ordinateur? Would those hours playing WOW equip you with the skills necessary to build faction reputation with those you meet IRL? Would the emoticons and “LOLs” you use in IM-ing equip you for real human interaction? Or would you be totally paralyzed?


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