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Technology and the Human Hand: Are We Losing Touch?

17. May 2018 16:05

By: Scott Grove, ScottGrove.com

Ever since I started woodworking I have wondered: Does technology compromise my craftsmanship? I would buy the latest and greatest gizmo that would give me better accuracy and speed, and then a friend would jokingly say, well, that’s just cheating.

In recent years technology advances have made working with wood easier. Wood can now be cut, carved, and shaped more precisely and more quickly with a CNC machine than one could ever have hoped to imagine. We are now at a stage in the game where furniture can be completely designed and created with the push of a button. As a businessman, I embrace this efficiency, but sometimes I wonder if I am losing touch with my craft. Am I still a maker, a “real” craftsman? Or am I being redefined as a designer and assembler? Where is the line between them?

In Western society, we dwell on imperfection as a flaw and often consider it a failure or subpar, shoddy craftsmanship. Even the term “craft” can have a negative connotation. But are we missing the fact that these flaws represent the human touch? OR do we and society want perfection no matter how it is achieved? Some will argue that the design and even the manufacture is still a craft, but is it? Really?

Obviously there are more questions than clear answers here. But one thing is for sure: Technology is here to stay and will keep advancing, helping us to become faster and more accurate, work more quickly and more cost effectively. The technological craftsman is a reality and our trade is splintering in two.

The dilemma is: How to use technology without losing touch with our craftsmanship? Or is that just cheating?  Be a part of the conversation during the Technology and the Human Hand - Are We Losing Touch session at the IWF Conference on Wednesday, August 22nd from 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM.

For a 9 minute TedX talk overview of this discussion, please visit https://imaginegrove.com/

Scott Grove, ScottGrove.com ImagineGrove.com

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