AI and Human Creativity: 5 Ways To Cultivate Creative Thinking Skills

Will AI Replace Human Creativity?

Woman relaxing and reading a book

I've been following the discussions about the new AI program ChatGPT, along with all the angst and handwringing as both educators and writers feel the threat of AI taking over their jobs. Indeed, programs like Grammarly and can already edit, create marketing materials and write blogs. ChatGPT promises to make the average high school or college essay obsolete and replace the novelist or op-ed writer. What's a creator to do? And in the face of this new technology, what should an educator help the kids learn?

Programs like ChatGPT can encourage students to bypass the struggle of putting their thoughts into words. It can also create volumes of "content." With a quick click, aspiring writers or novelists can pump out completed works in a matter of minutes. It does seem that AI could one day replace human thinking and creativity, but only if humans let the creative potential inside our brains slide into disuse and atrophy.

Humans have an advantage over AI. We are each unique. We are born into the world with a unique library of genetics, into a unique set of circumstances that shape and power our unique personalities, perspectives and possibilities. AI can compete but never outstrip the creative potential of the human mind because AI can never have a uniquely human experience.

Programmers, engineers and scientists may try, but without a human brain, a human body, human experiences and human interactions with other humans, AI will always be a close second. It is our individual uniqueness we need to promote and our uniquely human way of thinking humans need to cultivate.

Here are five ways to cultivate creative thinking skills for the future.

1. Read, learn and commit to memory new vocabulary, facts and dates, concepts and skills.

Yes, this sounds old-school, but it isn't enough to look up information on the internet. Looking up information doesn't give us the brain power to create actively. We know from mountains of brain research that our brains need to struggle, puzzle, work out, store and finally assemble information to become creative in any area of work or discipline. Good writers write well because they know grammar rules and when and where to break them. They also have an extensive database of vocabulary words stored in their brains and understand the nuances of when or where to place words in a sentence. What makes human writing different from writing by AI is that we get to peer into the story of a uniquely human individual shaping their thoughts from a unique perspective. Yes, this takes time and effort, but it's worth the work.

2. Pursue topics you are currently interested in and those that don't excite you.

Broaden what you know and what you don't yet know. It's fun to pursue topics or skills you are interested in and more challenging to pursue topics that you find boring or skills you find difficult. Do both. You can't learn everything, so learn as much as possible about as many things as possible to create your unique knowledge and skills base.

3. Always look for opposing viewpoints, conflicting data and contrary conclusions.

By looking at something from multiple perspectives, we can gain a bigger, broader, more in-depth understanding of our viewpoints and the viewpoints of others. Yes, this may challenge what we believe, and this may cause us to be uncomfortable. But suppose we do the work and go back and learn more about what we don't understand or disagree with by studying, puzzling, working and finally assembling new information into a more concrete viewpoint. In that case, we will be able to think creatively.

4. Find a problem to solve and figure out how to solve it.

Pick a problem, any problem. There are many problems in the world, and we need people capable of solving them. AI and the internet can become resources for us. Still, we need problem solvers who have their unique library of information they've worked hard to build and who have created their own unique way to see the world by learning as many different ways to see the world as they can. With these problem-solving abilities, they can uniquely connect the dots that no one can see to solve the problems that right now seem impossible to solve.

5. Become heroes, not just entertainers.

It's tempting to think about becoming an influencer, paid to promote someone else's product or group of products, living in a penthouse apartment, driving a Bentley and feeling famous. But what have you contributed? Are you not just a consumer of technology and a servant to the company using your "influence" to make more money for themselves? Is this really what you want out of life? Why not become a hero instead? Work hard to learn enough to cure a disease, find a better way to build bridges or cars, invent a better way to recycle or help the elderly live a better life. You are only here for a short time. Consider how you can make life better for others, not just yourself.

Become the next generation of creators using technology, not just the consumers of technology. The people who can create using all the tools modern technology has given us will have control, power and financial freedom. Those who merely consume this technology will eventually find themselves beholden to it. AI can become a powerful tool for us, but only if we commit to cultivating our individual human-powered thinking. Used creatively, programs like ChatGPT, Grammarly and Jasper can help students and writers write better. They can provide new ideas, point to new resources or clean up and reveal lousy grammar. Used strategically, they can improve a student's or writer's output. However, they can't replace the creative potential of the human brain and the unique ideas, literature, art and solutions produced by unique individuals. This can only happen if our brains are encouraged or even coerced into more refined creative thinking skills.

The Newsweek Expert Forum is an invitation-only network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.
What's this?
Content labeled as the Expert Forum is produced and managed by Newsweek Expert Forum, a fee based, invitation only membership community. The opinions expressed in this content do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Newsweek or the Newsweek Expert Forum.