We are seeing technology disrupt and fundamentally change our society. Soon AI will be able to suggest ideas based on insight. It will change how we see creativity, but ideas will be a precious commodity. Where do ideas come from now?
4 Key Takeaways:
- Technology has remapped society
- Our notion of creativity and ideas need to change
- AI will one day suggest ideas based on data
- Ideas will be a currency that we need to invest in now to avoid disruption
About Cyril Moloney:
Cyril Moloney is a Director at Teneo, specialising in technology, with nearly 20 years in technology communications in Ireland and internationally, he has seen technology go from the back room to the good room.
Contacting Cyril Moloney:
By Cyril Moloney.
Voltaire once wrote ‘originality is nothing but judicious imitation’. In an age of data driven insights, iterations and reboots, are we in danger of losing the creative spark?
In a famous TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson said that we needed to re-evaluate education as we needed to teach and prepare the next generations for industries that did not exist. That was 2006;
- Twitter was founded
- iPhone was nearly a year away
- Bebo was popular in Ireland
- Facebook was two years old and was finally opening itself to the public
- Google had just acquired YouTube
- Cambridge Analytica was still five years from being founded
Fast forward to today and we are seeing more disruption at an ever-quicker pace. But are we seeing the ideas needed to adapt? Everything around us today, ranging from culture to consumer products, is a product of ideas coupled with intelligence.
With the coming of Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the next few years, will this be a milestone that will force us to embrace creativity and up our ideas game? At the most basic level AI needs data to analyse and will derive insights based on what has already happened. As it develops its ability to deliver insights at an exponential rate, is there room for ideas, or will we use AI as a crutch to create, safe in the knowledge that we reduce risk of that idea failing?
However, one lesson to bear in mind is that Big Data is not automatically Big Insight. Data can hide biases, be skewed or be incomplete. It may not represent the bigger picture or give you an insight that you can build on.
Ideas as Currency
Robinson highlighted that creativity is ‘the process of having original ideas that have value’
As AI and other new technologies infuse into our collective psyche, we have no concept of how it will change our society, our working and personal lives. All we do know is that ideas will likely become more valuable than money. We can bank on AI transforming job sectors and roles. With that will come disruption, but also the opportunity to create new industries around it. If you look at the car, that not only made horse drawn carriages obsolete, it created roads, service stations, and remapped societies and human behaviour in less than a century.
To that end, we will need to fundamentally reassess how we encourage, foster and support new idea generation. It may be time to rip up things we thought were certain, as we may only have a few years to adapt ideas to an ever-changing reality that will create more questions and enable new realities.
A recent Microsoft and EY report highlighted that Ireland was beginning to ramp up its AI activity, and needed investment and support. Now is the time for government, academia, business and the artist to get together and generate ideas for a society that may not exist yet and help address new challenges and opportunities that have yet to pass.
In 2004, a book called “The First Idea” suggested the development of our higher-level symbolic thinking, language, and social skills could not be explained by genes and natural selection but depend on cultural practices learned anew by each generation over millions of years, dating back to primate and prehuman cultures.
We rapidly need to create a culture of ideas and creativity if not, we run the risk of judicious imitation, something AI can already do.