Digital transformation of cultural and creative industries

Misiunea Apollo 13, lansată în aprilie 1970, s-a transformat imediat într-o luptă pentru supraviețuire.  Rezervoarele de oxigen au explodat, urmând faimoasa misiune de salvare. Lumea întreagă își ținea respirația, în timp ce de la o distanță de 200.000 de mile se căutau soluții pentru problemele tehnice. Inginerii și astronauții au lucrat împreună pentru a-și da seama cum să manevreze și să navigheze o navă spațială grav avariată, să găsească modalități inovatoare de conservare a energiei, oxigenului și apei și, în cele din urmă, să descopere cum să repornească un modul de comandă care nu fusese proiectat pentru a fi oprit în spațiu.

Many of the innovations that are part of our daily lives today were imagined long ago by writers, philosophers, painters or screenwriters and film directors. In 1657, the satirical novel “The Other World: The Comic History of the States and Empires of the Moon” was published, in which Cyrano de Bergerac sent his hero to the moon with a space rocket. In 1889, the owner of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett Jr., asked Jules Verne to write a short story in which he imagined what life would be like in a thousand years. Thus, the short story “The Day of an American Journalist in 2889” appeared in the American magazine The For, rich in true predictions that have meanwhile become reality, from video conferences to home-delivered food.

The names of some modern inventions bear names imagined in works of fiction. The credit card is described in the science fiction novel “Looking Back: 2000–1887” by Edward Bellamy, first published in 1888. The robot appears in the play “Rossum’s Universal Robots”, published by the Czech writer Karel Čapek in 1920. We encounter the first space station in fiction in 1869 in Edward Everett Hale’s “Brick Moon,” described as a 200-foot-diameter sphere of bricks accidentally launched into orbit around Earth with humans still on board.
It is evident today that advances in science, technology and the arts have together brought about changes in all aspects of human life. This fact made professionals from various socio-economic fields aware of the importance that culture and technology have, one for the other and both for society.

Art and innovation have in common the creation of connections

Harvard researchers spent six years interviewing thousands of people to find out what makes innovators different. The conclusion can be found in the statement of the author of the book “The Red Thread of Thinking: Weaving Together Connections for Bright Ideas and Profitable Innovation”, Debra Kaye, an international expert on innovation and trends, specializing in cultural strategy and innovation: “great innovators make connections between seemingly unrelated observations to discover unique perspectives.”
Albert Einstein said of himself that he thought of science in terms of images and intuitions, often drawn directly from his experiences as a musician, which he later transformed into logic, words and mathematics. It is little known that Einstein was a good violinist.
At the same time, history shows that technological progress needs the right environment, a culture that embraces innovation. A clear example is Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press. The 1450 invention of the German entrepreneur was not the first such discovery. The earliest known printing press was invented in China nearly a thousand years earlier. However, Gutenberg’s innovation changed the world, emerging in a culture that encouraged innovation and, above all, the spread of innovation on a large scale, which had not happened in the closed culture of China.
Today, we see how society sometimes shows a restrained attitude towards digital technologies, both in culture and in society as a whole. There is a negative rhetoric that prevents innovators from adopting certain types of new technologies. According to an analysis by Stand Together, of the 35 most-read non-fiction books about technology published between 2018 and 2019, about 60 percent had negative views of the direction in which society is innovating.
Creating a conducive cultural environment and the interdisciplinary connections necessary for innovation are therefore premises on which society can continue to progress.

Digital transformation of cultural and creative industries: to be or not to be?

It is technology that has generated the progress of the last centuries, so that today we can talk about culture and creativity in an economic, measurable context. In 2020, the Creative and Cultural Industries contributed nearly $3 trillion to global GDP (3.1%) and the industry’s share of global employment was 6.2%, according to the data Statistician. Even in a pandemic context, where gross value added (GVA) due to COVID-19 has fallen by USD 750 billion and 10 million jobs have been lost, it is evident that the productive economy is performing.
However, emerging markets face substantial challenges in formalizing and commercializing their creative wealth. Disrupted creative value chains have created a fragmented landscape with high costs of producing creative products and limited local and global distribution and monetization channels for artists in emerging markets. In the case of Romania, for example, the Classification of Activities in the National Economy (CAEN) and the Classification of Occupations in Romania (COR) are far from being aligned with the reality of the economy, being practically impossible to carry out an objective analysis, despite all the attempts of some organizations to measure their share in the national economy.
Furthermore, the Internet is sometimes viewed as an environment where intellectual property cannot be protected. There are voices claiming that technology has disrupted much of the traditional art world, changed public expectations, put more pressure on arts organizations to have a social media presence, generated a large amount of quasi-artistic content that endangered the art itself and even undermined the missions and income streams of some artistic groups. Artificial Intelligence has become, in culture perhaps more than in other fields, the public enemy on which the scowling eyes of critics are directed.
However, disruptive digital technologies have enabled the creative industries to become an attractive investment sector for the first time. Digital platforms allow artists to manage their income and find new forms of expression through brand promotion and online advertising.

At the same time, the evolution of digital technologies and the education of creators in their use are what make possible both new cultural products and services and the protection of intellectual property. Case studies on the potential effects of digitization on the protection of creative assets in developed markets highlight that, for example, licensed streaming alternatives can prevent piracy. Non-fungible tokens (NFT), a blockchain technology that tokenizes and records digital assets on a digital ledger, helps protect copyright and allows artists to be rewarded for their work. These technologies also enable the generation of data on creative industries, helping governments understand the relevance of creative industries and develop evidence-based policies to promote them.
Digitization has also spawned entirely new creative industries. Using affordable production technologies, creative entrepreneurship has become a viable source of income and has resulted in a number of economy-wide effects. Analyzing data collected by various actors has the potential to bring new insights and value, and key players in the Creative and Cultural Industries can discover new opportunities offered by Big Data analysis.

The Green eDIH response

In conclusion, we have absolutely no doubt that modern artists face increasingly complex challenges in the context of the penetration of digital technologies in the Cultural and Creative Industries. But they are not alone!
Green eDIH, through its ecosystem, has the capacity to contribute to better resilience and sustainability of the Creative and Cultural Industries in Europe, by creating and developing a network, together with other actors with a role in the development of interconnections in the value chain, to stimulate innovation, green transition and internationalization. Green eDIH contributes to the development and implementation of cross-sectoral projects aimed at bringing innovation to the creation of new cultural products and services.

We agree, nothing replaces face-to-face interaction. But with the help of digital technologies, creativity and imagination, anyone can have a meeting with the Emperor Caracalla or the painter Theodor Aman, with the help of Interactive Digital Solutions. Ancient characters enter into virtual dialogues with the visitors of the Principia Museum in Alba Iulia, through an interactive augmented video, in which passers-by and tourists are invited to cross the threshold of the museum and discover the life of the Castrum 2000 years ago. A meeting with Mrs. Suțu transports the visitors of the Bucharest City Museum to the atmosphere of the end of the 19th century, through an interactive pseudo-hologram. A meeting with the Generation of 1927, at the Museum of Romanian Literature, or a journey among the stars, at the “Amiral Vasile Urseanu” Astronomical Observatory in Bucharest, are possible with the help of an interactive display.
These are just a few examples of how technology is being used to create unique cultural experiences for an audience that is no longer content to just watch, looking for interactive experiences. Museums, theaters, art galleries can improve their interaction with the public, using interactive digital solutions, such as Mixed Reality created by Interactive Digital Solutions by the infusion of innovative technologies and intelligent concepts.

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