One highlight of the Fortune Brainstorm conference for me was the final speaker, Neil Young, the musician.
I knew Young would be obsessed with music, but I did not know technology was an obsession as well. He is currently figuring out how to make his boat-sized convertible (a Cadillac?) into a hybrid.
Young does not, however, see technology as a necessarily good thing, particularly in terms of music.
iTunes, Apple and Steve Jobs have a lot to answer for, Young said:
The CD was great when came out. Music could go to a little disk. but that same convenience has taken us on a detour down the convenience highway and quality has taken a complete back seat now.
The music sold on iTunes and other platforms degrade the quality of music to an extent that most people do not even realize, Young said. If listeners could see music as we can see an image, the resolution would be too low for consumers to accept.
Journalist John Huey, who interviewed Young on stage, raised the question as to whether Jobs is a hypocrite: In visiting Steve Jobs’ living room a few years ago, Huey had seen an incredible high-end stereo, complete with vacuum tube, vinyl records and amazing speakers.