Generative “I” in the age of “AI”

zamchick
2 min readJul 28, 2023

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I’m not quite myself in this post. There’s a new entity by the edge of the pond beckoning with over-enthusiastic assurances like “Sure!” And “Certainly!” It reminds me of a know-it-all we all knew in school — furiously raising his hand to be called on. But this one is saying, “You don’t get it, I. know. everything.”

I’m not going to speak more generally about AI, that’s being done quite nicely (and endlessly) by startup founders and evangelists. I’m going to talk about the risk it poses to our ability to think independently, critically, and creatively at a time when we must embrace these thought-enhancing technologies to survive.

As an innovation strategist and professor, I’m concerned with the inspired output of product development teams and students. Generative AI is a double-edged sword. While AI offers impressive capabilities, it can also produce a hefty dose of growth-inhibiting hormone — a reduction in the experimentation, failure, and mastery that is at the heart of strong team and individual development and success. Ready-made solutions mustn’t overshadow human effort and contribute to the complacency and high rates of burnout we are already seeing in the workplace.

The Generative AI that has arrived on the edge of all of our ponds, is more a ravenous bullfrog than a transforming tadpole. Many are now staring into its red-glowing eyes: writers are being gulped up, programmers being out-coded, filmmakers, musicians, and actors are being sampled and swallowed. And during this transitional period, it’s made fear a dominant emotion in the workplace. All of us are trying to strike a balance, leveraging AI’s potential while preserving and nurturing our human curiosity, creativity, and intuition.

But the allure is powerful — we cannot let prompts like “a crab-like nebula with explosive purple and blue colors” diminish our awe at images beamed back from the Webb telescope.

The World Economic Forum “Future of jobs, 2023” report says demand for creative thinking will grow faster in the next five years — by 73% — than demand for analytical thinking.

Let’s navigate these turbulent waters with a mindful approach, embracing both the capabilities of AI and the magic of human creativity — the Generative “I.”

Next: Being 3D in a 2D World

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zamchick

Innovation strategist. WordsEye Co-founder. Author of “Everyday Superhero” (Penguin Random House) Contact me at zamchick@gmail.com