By: Helen Fenton
While 4th Industrial Revolution technologies are fast becoming the way to go in the world of the “new normal,” they are driven by something far superior to robots: human creativity. Let’s have a look at the importance of creativity in this article.
Doctor Who is not some health official from the World Health Organization famous for mucking around with petrie dishes in the WHO laboratories in search of a cure for COVID-19 in the year 2020. Nor, as his other name “The Fourth Doctor” suggests, is he a mad scientist from the future who is controlling humanity using 4th Industrial Revolution technologies. In truth, he is just a Time Lord from the UK classic science fiction series Doctor Who that first aired in 1963—and no, he is not plotting to destroy the human race. Yet, the very sound of the name Doctor Who smacks of an evil character from a World Health Organization conspiracy theory involving a character that, instead of preserving the human race, is hell bent on killing us all off. Such is the flair of human creativity, as this story illustrates; that is, to create a stage that stimulates the imagination and takes us on an endless journey towards exploring the potentials of the human condition.
Ask anyone who has a business degree whether they think creativity is important in the grand scheme of their pursuits and you will more than likely be met with a response such as, “no, surely creativity belongs to the the realm of artists, musicians and graphic designers?” In the past, this may very well have held true. Yet today, creativity is not only about putting paint to canvas.
COVID-19 is Responsible for Accelerating the Pace Adopting 4IR Technologies and the Need for Creative Problem Solving
In light of recent events, it goes without saying that COVID-19 is responsible for accelerating the pace of the widespread adoption of 4th Industrial Revolution technologies. It is estimated that more than 7 billion people worldwide have been subjected to severe restrictions of movement during phases of lockdown in the past few months, and systems that have for decades resisted change are now forced into going virtual. Businesses from all economic sectors are applying creative problem-solving techniques in ways never seen before and are developing new technical solutions using digital technologies and revamping their business models at a rate that would have been inconceivable only months ago. This brings to our attention the fact that 4IR technologies are now crucial to our very survival.
Human Creativity is Driving 4th Industrial Revolution Technologies
So, what does creativity have to do with any of these things? For starters, we need to bear in mind that while 4th Industrial Revolution technologies are fast becoming the way to go in the world of the “new normal,” they are driven by something far superior to robots—human creativity. And in recent times, humans are applying their creative problem solving skills to using these technologies to kit us out for survival in the new era.
The Internet of Things (IOT)
Social distancing means that never before has there been more of a need for us to rely on the Internet of Things (IoT) to perform daily tasks such as staying in contact with others and working remotely. Zoom has never before known such fame, with many individuals using the cloud-based videoconferencing and online chat services platform for teleconferencing, distance education, telecommuting and social interactions.
To help protect frontline medical staff, manufacturing firms and hobbyists alike are using 3D printing technology to make thousands of face shields.
Machine learning is being used by both researchers and medics alike to search repositories of scholarly articles pertaining to COVID-19.
Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Fight Against COVID-19
According to a recent report by Euronews, part of a research project in pursuit of identifying potentially new molecules that could be used for drugs against the coronavirus sees European scientists using Artificial Intelligence and High Performance Computing by combining algorithms, biochemistry and molecular screenings to help in the fight against COVID-19.
Robots with a Penchant for Fast Foods
According to the Wall Street Journal, about a year ago McDonald’s already began rolling out testing of voice-activated drive-thrus and deep-frying robots that cook fries, chicken and fish. Today, such technologies are not just about saving costs but preserving the human condition in the face of containing the spread of coronavirus and such innovations, rather than putting people out of jobs, are expected to enable McDonald’s staff to work on their soft skills such as customer service and teamwork. Employees are shifting away from doing basic tasks such as taking orders since technologies such as self-order kiosks, robotics and AI will take over these basic tasks to enable employees to concentrate more on customer service.
The Rolling Stones Zoom Music to My Ears
Even creatives themselves can be 4IR savvy when streaming their performances from home studios. In their One World: Together at Home concert in April, the Rolling Stones performed one of their classic tracks, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” online and delivered to a global audience via Zoom.
Understanding the Importance of Human Creativity in the 4th Industrial Revolution
According to The World Economic Forum, Deloitte, and McKinsey, creativity is in the top 3 most sought-after skills needed to survive the 4th Industrial Revolution since it is a cognitive skill that simply cannot be automated. In fact, McKinsey estimates that it is now even more important than complex information processing and interpretation, as well as advanced literacy and writing skills, in that the demand for skills involving a high degree of creativity is anticipated to increase by approximately 14 percent in Europe and 19 percent in the United States in the near future.
The 4th Industrial Revolution brings along with it a whole host of new technologies and sophisticated products, and as a result, changes in the workplace to such an extent that will require both creative thinking and creative problem-solving skills.
- Creative Thinking: Creative thinking involves generating original ideas and unique ways of solving problems.
- Creative Problem-Solving: Creative problem solving is concerned with solving issues that pose numerous possible solutions and how to determine the best way forward given these different variables.
Hollywood may not be the place to hold a psychic convention, but science fiction still has an uncanny knack of predicting the future
“Psychic spies from China try to steal your mind’s elation
An’ little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotation
And if you want these kind of dreams, it’s Californication..”
—Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Californication
Let’s Go Back to the Future and Take a Look at the Light and Dark Sides of Some of Hollywood’s Notorious Artificial Intelligence Characters
Turning our attention back towards science fiction, it is also commonly believed that science fiction writers and Hollywood producers have seemingly more often than not had an uncanny knack for predicting the future. And anticipating what it may be like to work with AI colleagues in the future brings to mind some of Hollywood’s most notorious AI characters.
R2D2 and C3PO
Life will be just fine if you happen to be in a good position with your AI counterparts. Lucky Luke Skywalker of Star Wars fame was indeed fortunate in that two of his best friends were robots who went by the names of R2D2 and C3PO (first appeared onscreen in 1977). These robots did whatever was necessary to aid Luke, helping him to fight off nasties such as the Storm Troopers.
HAL 9000 is the main antagonist in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey series, and is portrayed as an artificial intelligence character. Hence, in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, a system known as HAL (Heuristically Programmed Algorithmic Computer) is a sentient computer or form of AI that interacts with the crew of the Discovery One spacecraft and controls the ship’s systems. In addition to maintaining the ship’s systems while on an interplanetary mission, HAL is capable of speech and speech recognition, natural language processing, lip reading, facial recognition, automated reasoning, interpreting emotional behaviours, spacecraft piloting and playing chess. However, something goes wrong—HAL ends up turning against his human counterparts, and tries to kill off the ship’s crew members.
Who is Doctor Who?
As mentioned earlier, Doctor Who is not the Fourth Doctor from the 4th Industrial Revolution, nor is he an official from the World Health Organization, but rather he is a Time Lord who fulfills the critical role of fighting off a robot-like army of cyborg aliens known as the DALEKS.
Who We Are
But, as we move forward in the world of the “new normal,” irrespective of what stage we are at, or what stage Hollywood will do justice to when the film industry is allowed to start shooting again, WHO WE ARE, as creative human beings, will undoubtedly be what saves us from one day being controlled by a world run by machines.
About the Author
Helen Fenton, Senior Analyst, Business Optimization Training Institute
Business Optimization Training Institute (BOTI) is a Johannesburg based, Level 1 BBBEE business. As a Services and MICT SETA accredited company, we have trained thousands of individuals from over 650 companies and our extensive course offering consists of Short Courses, Soft Skills Training and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Learnership Programs. In addition, we offer bespoke training programs designed to cater to specific business needs. Our training courses are focused on knowledge and skills transfer and we pride ourselves in being able to provide training anytime, anywhere across South Africa.
- World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs Report 2018
Featured image via Unsplash.