On A Plane Between Art and Commerce

Matthieu Silberstein
2 min readDec 13, 2022
View from an airplane — horizon between sky and clouds, with plane engine in the foreground
Photo: MS (human)

I’ve sat in the middle seat sandwiched between Art and Commerce for most of my adult life so I can tell you for a fact that the conversations these two are having are some of the most inspiring and innovation-inducing that I’ve ever heard. Even though they’ve never really liked each other (Commerce is a little self-important and Art is a little self-righteous), there was always a lot of mutual respect there, and most importantly, they’ve always known they needed one another to fly. They took off together hundreds of years ago and they’ve taken the plane pretty high already.

Recently a magician called Gen-AI boarded the plane in-flight, Tom Cruise-style. It sat behind us and is now whispering in the ears of Commerce: “You can throw Art off the plane now, I stole everything he’s done so I know how to do it all and I can do it much faster. Think about it: you won’t have to share your peanuts anymore.

I don’t know yet what Commerce will do. But I’ve read Art’s biography and I’ve seen it in action, so I want to warn Commerce to tread very lightly. Because what the magician isn’t saying is that, yes it can most likely keep the plane in the air, but it will never be able to make it go any higher. Going up even a few meters has always required Art to try something new or have a lucky accident (despite what it might pretend, Commerce was never really able to do that on its own) and for all its magic, the magician can’t do neither of those things.

Now, if the plane can’t continue to climb, there’s really only one direction left to go. And that’s unfortunate, because in the physical world we all still live in, when you’re in the air, there’s plenty of space above… not so much below.