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How not to be replaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Learn four ways to cultivate creative thinking
By Maliha Haider
July 4, 2024

Recently I received a text on my WhatsApp which made me laugh. It was to suggest AI do our laundry instead of taking care of our thinking and creative work. Jokes apart, it is one of the most valid fears in the current technological climate for far too many people and all businesses regardless of their size. A fear of being replaced by AI.

But despite it being the most common fear felt by various sectors including the creative taskforces such as writers, thinkers, product designers etc, some AI leaders and behaviour scientists don’t seem too worried. They insist some aspects AI can’t take away from humankind and one of them is human creativity.

In one of the podcasts published by Harvard Business Review, hosted by Alison Beard with the authors of Tomorrowland, they argued that the human mind is incredibly complex and has an ability to be uniquely creative which cannot possibly be ever replaced by Artificial Intelligence.  Gabriella Rosen Kellerman, who is a physicist and chief product innovation officer and Martin Seligman, a psychologist, and author of several books, discussed four ways an individual or an organisation can cultivate creativity in day-to-day life.

Integrative Approach

One of the most popular moves people make when they look for creative solutions to a known or unknown problem by thinking of the integration of seemingly different things in one box. The idea is that things that don’t look similar might be the same. One of the prime examples is a smartphone, which combines a phone on the wall and, a camera that requires film and a record player all in a single device. This was unimaginable forty-something years ago.

Splitting Approach

It is the reverse of integrative, which is, that the things that look the same, may not necessarily be the same. One of the uses of this kind of creative approach can be seen in medicinal science. For instance, symptoms of smallpox can look the same but can cause both mild and deadly reactions depending on the causes. So their treatment will not be the same.

Figure Ground Reverse Approach

Figure Ground reversal is a remarkable approach. It is when certain solutions are invented by doing something unrelated. They helped shape some products such as GPS which was not meant to be GPS or SLACK which was supposed to be a video game for internal communication. This way of looking out for creative solutions comes from triggering a brain circuit that lights up when you are not looking for a solution but it is the same brain circuit that lights up when we are focused.

Distal Thinking Approach

This one requires time traveling in the future while keeping the feet in the present. Using divergent thinking to explore many possible solutions without the constraints of time, space, and any other limiting elements. Tesla’s self-driving cars are one of the examples of Distal thinking.

You can listen more why Artificial Intelligence is not a threat for creative thinkers or SMEs here: A Deeper Understanding of Creativity at Work (