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[Skills of the future] Creativity

Artificial Intelligence already writes pretty good poems, generates decent sounds and music, and creates amazing visuals. The same artificial intelligence is expected to write a bestselling book by 2049, according to futurist Nikolas Badminton.

Image generated by openAI for "human search for inside spark"

In this context, considering creativity one of the most essential skills humans should have in the next decades is a bit counterintuitive. How could the average person's creativity be a valuable skill when compared with the ever-evolving AI creativity?

This article explores some possible answers to this question.

In order to answer it, we should first define creativity, despite it being one of those terms which seem to be better defined by their outcome than through what they are.

Howard Gartner defined creativity as "the human capacity to regularly solve problems or to fashion products in a domain in a way that is initially novel but ultimately acceptable in a culture" (Gardner, H. (1982). Art, mind and brain: A cognitive approach to creativity. New York: Basic Books Inc, p.4). In order for an output to be considered creative it has to be original and reality-based or adaptive.

Paul Torrance, the "father of creativity", defined the four elements that characterize creative thinking: fluency (quantity of ideas), originality (uniqueness of ideas), flexibility (variety of ideas) and elaboration (ability to add details to the ideas). A fifth accepted attribute is problem sensitivity, which is the ability to detect/sense a problem or a need before others, an ability that can be linked with empathy. While AI chatbots can mimic empathy, this is far from sensing needs or problems humans are not aware yet of.

This could be one of the answers for which creativity will be a valuable human skill: not so much for the creative value of the outcome, but for creatively identifying what needs to be fixed.

Before giving the second possible answer, I wanted to hear AI's answer.

Today's conversation with openAI chatbot

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1996, Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: HarperCollins) looked into the characteristics of a creative person and found dualism or complexity as an always present trait, allowing them to adapt to the domain and context. Dualism is defined as the ability to have paradoxical traits, moving freely from one end to the other (for example being both naive and logical, optimistic and realistic, introverted and extroverted). So, dualism is the high tolerance for ambiguity (or flexible thinking), which is one of the most critical attributes of resilience. Research is yet to be performed to establish the exact causality relationship between creativity and resilience, but what is generally accepted now is that there is definitely a connection between the two. If nothing else, then creativity will help humans adapt to an unknown environment while maintaining their optimism and mental sanity.

Another answer to the question might reside in the social value of creativity. Creative thinking allows us to observe social nuances otherwise undetectable, significantly increasing our chances for success and survival ( Richards, R.L. (2007). Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature: Psychological, Social and Spiritual Perspectives).

What do you think?

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