Careers and canons won’t be established in traditional ways. I’m not so sure that we’ll still have careers in the same way we used to.
Literary works might function the same way that memes do today on the Web, spreading like wildfire for a short period, often unsigned and unauthored, only to be supplanted by the next ripple. While the author won’t die, we might begin to view authorship in a more conceptual way: perhaps the best authors of the future will be ones who can write the best programs with which to manipulate, parse and distribute language-based practices. Even if, as Bök claims, poetry in the future will be written by machines for other machines to read, there will be, for the foreseeable future, someone behind the curtain inventing those drones; so that even if literature is reducible to mere code—an intriguing idea—the smartest minds behind them will be considered our greatest authors.
With the rise of the Web, writing has met its photography. By that, I mean writing has encountered a situation similar to what happened to painting with the invention of photography, a technology so much better at replicating reality that, in order to survive, painting had to alter its course radically.
While traditional notions of writing are primarily focused on “originality” and “creativity,” the digital environment fosters new skill sets that include “manipulation” and “management” of the heaps of already existent and ever-increasing language.
What we take to be graphics, sounds, and motion in our screen world is merely a thin skin under which resides miles and miles of language.
Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age by Kenneth Goldsmith