Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Aug 2022

Robots Arise, Creativity Falls?

Some time ago, posted a piece of an insight because of the rise in the use of DALL-E (and similar) to re-imagine aspects of this world:

Waiting for the first DALL-E project to callout haphazard product management - Twitter

Prompted by seeing so many folks imagine and re-image everything from streetscapes to classic artwork, there was some wondering about the fate of those in creative spaces. And, as what has been the case for a while, new tools do call into question the value and future of creative behaviors and outlets. However, it might be better to assume the continuance of human-form creativity, alongside the diminishing of human-managed validation.

Within some engagements, am often telling participants “let the (computer application) be the calculator. Your role is to use what’s calculated to make better decisions for your team/business. You cannot compute faster than the computer. You should know context better than it, and leverage that to enhance business-affirming decision making.” And while this is often met with a few nods and agreement, it is not the way the present and future is often presented. More often than not, the roles are assumed reversed, and the individual expressing failure at not understanding (or being ignorant of) context.

“A failure of imagination” might be the response by some.

It might not so much be the failure of imagination, as much as it’s a yielding of agency by everyone who leverages creativity while defining value in their work and outputs. Creativity is what takes constraints and then discovers conduits for other expressions. This isn’t to stay that automated systems and processes cannot express creativity, only that those who are tasked with demonstrating contextual intelligence would do well to shift their validation of work from calculating to discovering/validating.

When we appropriate new tools and techniques into art and work, it’s easy to assume a decline of some aspect of intelligence or agency. But, to those who follow music at any level, this would be a faulty assumption. The rise of synthesized sounds wasn’t the fall of music, or even that of music styles. New genres, production methods, and even distribution methods have arisen. And, whew, the artists (start with Stevie Wonder and follow those who branched just from his creativity). So it’s fair to observe, and even assess the impacts of augmented tools and techniques. It is also fair to allow new imaginations to take root. And from there, foster making the old and new dance better together, as much as humanly possible.