William Webster

written by

William Webster

Researcher, Avoncourt Partners GmbH

Culture Blog - Apr 10, 2018

The Most Needed Skill in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.”

Dorothy Parker’s incisiveness about the nature of creativity leaves us wondering whether in the Age of Computers we have begun reversing the conditions for creative flowing in society. For centuries, data was accessible to the attentive and capable. It involved the troublesome task of collection, organization and processing. Now we have computers who do this for us. And artificial intelligence is thriving on it.

Businessmen shaking hands in office with a person who represents a computer

In computer science, artificial intelligence is commanding dominance. It is a forward model, meaning a computer model that makes decisions based on the input into the model. This includes data in the form of pictures, numbers, and anything quantifiable. Thus, this type of model is able to modify its prediction based on the dynamic flow of input. The longer the model receives data input, the more “intelligent” it becomes and the better it predicts future behavior.

AI is different from the backward model, in which a prediction is made on a past data set and the unique parameters that are chosen at the time of the model building. The backward does not have the capacity to modify its predictions. No matter how many times you feed data into the backward model, it will always give the same answer for the same data point. This is the principle difference to the forward model, where the answer changes with more data that is fed into the model.

This is why AI is being used now more than before. The abundance of data floating in cyberspace makes it a perfect time to use the forward model. The internet, the “information highway,” enormous storage capacities of computers, and immeasurable amounts of data are highly useful now. At first humans were mesmerized, then overwhelmed with the plethora of information available to them. Now we are evermore seeing its usefulness in forward computing models.

Business man observing fast speed data flow

Nevertheless, Parker’s first half of the definition remains unanswered by technology. AI can replicate behavior, but it does not possess the “wild mind” of imagination, because it is just a sorting algorithm with advanced functional optimization and regression techniques. We humans, on the other hand, are inherently creative and imaginative. We are able to think of stories and imagine things which we then bring to life. Walt Disney said, “if you can dream it, you can do it.” AI cannot do that, yet it can do repetitive tasks at an extremely efficient rate. So in the age of AI human creativity will be in higher demand than ever before.

The more that industries leverage the power of AI, the more the world will need creativity in all endeavors, including how to leverage and utilize AI creatively.