2 min readThe Sense of Imagination: An Important Skill in Working with AI

Summarizing the findings of a study conducted by Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson on 1,500 organizations, this Forbes article talks about the importance of imagination in ensuring success with AI.

I agree on all the points raised by Joe McKendrick here. For sure artificial intelligence will extend what humans can do with just their bare effort. We can do miracles with AI!

But reading this article, a question enters my mind, “If the key to our success with AI depends on us having a powerful sense of imagination, how can we ensure that such a capacity is sustained and enhanced?” Already, our generation is experiencing a decline in creativity as technology is playing an even bigger role in our lives. What can happen to our society if such technology gets to the same intelligence level as that of human beings?

Dave Pollard provides a wonderful explanation of what can happen with imagination becoming rare:

The most important effect of the dearth of imagination is in our processes. Process is “the way we do something”. For millennia, the processes we used were principally those handed down by parents or mentors from generation to generation, tweaked by each generation’s new sensibilities, tastes and popular passions.

With the introduction of industrial culture, this way was largely replaced by more ‘efficient’ standard processes, documented in manuals, enforced with forms, close supervision and mandatory sign-offs and, as much as possible, automated.

Our Thoughts

With artificial intelligence becoming mainstream, and processes becoming ever more geared towards efficiency, one can say that the processes will lead to more people losing their imagination altogether. The way forward is simple. If we need imagination to succeed in AI, then we need to break the cycle – we need to consciously change our processes.

We can change our processes, only if we understand how our society has evolved, and why it was evolving in this direction in the first place. This Forbes article was written with businesses in mind, but when applied to a bigger context, our entire civilization for example, will give us important insights on what we need to learn to be fully human in the age of disruptive technologies.

Most Important Artificial Intelligence Skill: A Sense Of Imagination

Most Important Artificial Intelligence Skill: A Sense Of Imagination

Imagine this: artificial intelligence and machine learning systems, working with humans, making jobs more fun, rewarding and interesting.


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