Arts, Sciences, and the Future
By Bryan Caplan
My colleague Robin Hanson has repeatedly told me that during the next million years, we’ll discover all useful science/technology; there’s only so much to know, and by then, we’ll have it all figured out. But would Robin see art the same way? By his logic, it seems like you could also say say: During the next million years, will we discover all interesting art; there’s only so much art to create, and by then we’ll have created it.
You might object, “Science is about truth, art is about creativity, so science but not art has finite limits.” But is “useful” more like “true” or “interesting”? So even given constant science, we might endlessly create novel applications. Once you go down this route, though, it’s hard to see why scientific questions – as opposed to answers – would be any less open-ended than artistic visions.
Robin might blame my lack of a natural science background for my failure to assent to his prediction of the End of Science. But will he bite the bullet of the End of Art?
Update: Robin responds.