VISIT US: 20 Hope Street Hermanus 7200
CALL US: +27 28 313 0741

LinkedIn – 26 January 2023 by David Sable
Start-up Catalyst, Global Influencer, Author, Big Ideas, People First Always

Where Do Ideas Come From? And Will Artificial Intelligence Make Them Better?

Last week I wrote about Artificial Intelligence. I wondered if and/or when it would render us (humans) obsolete. At the same time, I suggested that there is a difference between intelligence (artificial, augmented, or otherwise) and thinking. 

Have you read the stories about ChatGPT acing Bar Exams and other tests? Of course, it can! It sucks in more data than we could inhale on our own. Its forte is spitting it back out—structured and coherent when the right questions are asked. But that’s not thinking!

Ask anyone who has sweated through the Bar exam. It’s a regurgitation of facts and knowledge. Thinking leads to imagination which is different from the current sweet spot of AI. 

As I thought more about it, maybe it all begins with learning … not machine learning, but the flawed human version. 

The progression from learning to thinking to imagining is a key differentiator for us vs. the ChatGPTs of the world. Yet, I wonder why we are often so uncomfortable with that particular journey, to pioneer a trail of championing propositions, ideas, what can be the new and untried, and then inviting clients and others with us on that journey of discovery.

Here is my thesis: learning is a journey that, by definition, leads to ideas – from learning to thinking to imagining to IDEAS.

Think about it. The great philosophers, authors, inventors, scientists, explorers, and artists all were learners. They were the real grail seekers … uncomfortable with the status quo and ready to learn by journeying into the unknown in search of new thinking, new ideas, and new ways to look at the world.

Keep reading (and thinking)…

It can be summed up best by a quote attributed to Galileo, though he probably didn’t say it, after the church shut him down for the heresy of claiming that the earth revolves around the sun … instead of sitting passively at the centre of the universe: “Eppur si muove,” meaning: And yet it moves.

The pursuit of learning often invokes fear. Is it the dread of the unknown? Is it the panic at finding out that your hard and fast-learned beliefs no longer hold water? Is it the alarm at what happens if you have to change your mind? “Eppur si muove.

Maybe it’s just the dread of a new idea—for a good reason:

“An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.” —Oscar Wilde 

What a great thought, and what a great filter! Oscar also said, “All great ideas are dangerous” which is a revelation. 

So, the next time you feel the chill of fear creeping over you as your learning leads you to think about a new possibility and then begin to imagine a new idea—embrace it!

Why? Because while ChatGPT might beat you out on the Bar exam, only you can look up at the heavens and wonder. The rest, as they say, is humanity; and therein lies the difference.