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  • Writer's pictureAmy B

The Importance of Creativity

It’s no secret that we live in a rapidly-changing world. The internet and smart phones have drastically changed nearly every aspect of our culture in just a few short years, including our work force. Artificial Intelligence (like the iPhone’s Siri), ride-sharing like Uber, 3D-printing, and self-publishing your own music, books, articles, videos, etc. are all quickly taking down industries which required skills in management and labor. Computers are vastly better at computing large amounts of data than we ever could be. Artificial Intelligence has grown by leaps and bounds using a method known as deep learning:

Deep learning means that machines can increasingly teach themselves how to perform complex tasks that only a couple of years ago were thought to require the unique intelligence of humans. Self-­driving cars are already a foreseeable possibility. In the near future, systems based on deep learning will help diagnose diseases and recommend treatments.”

How much more will change by the time children now are grown and entering the working world? Which jobs will no longer exist, and which jobs, inconceivable to us now, will be emerging? As far as artist and musician Dustin Timbrook is concerned, the answer to providing the most security for our children is to send them to art school.

“If preparing your kids for a world in which hard-working, knowledgeable people are unemployable frightens you then I have some good news: There is a solution, and it doesn’t involve tired, useless attempts at suppressing technology. Like most good solutions it requires a trait that is distinctly human.

I’m speaking about creativity.

Send your kids to art school. Heavily invest time and resources into their creative literacy. Do these things and they will stand a chance at finding work and or fulfillment in a future where other human abilities become irrelevant.”

Fostering creativity is the thing that will continue to set us apart from the machines which are causing so many professions to become obsolete. For all the wonderful things computers can do, they are not capable of abstraction; it is one of our greatest strengths, starting in childhood. “Young children do not need to see a skateboarding dog to be able to imagine or verbally describe one” (Will Knight). We have all laughed at the nonsensical conversations we often have with our technology, and this is because computers are very bad at language and are not capable of truly understanding the words we use. It has been said before but continues to be no less true: computers can’t answer the big questions in life. They can’t contemplate meaning or feel emotions. These experiences are reserved for us humans and our creative, abstract, language-based minds.

“The constant searching for and assignment of meaning dwells in everyone, but the artist is the person who exercises this muscle regularly enough to control it.

The person with creative literacy  —  a basic understanding of the mental, emotional, and sociological tools used for creative thought and communication  —  is able to find purpose and apply meaning to her world rather than having meaning handed down and purpose assigned to her.

The painting student completes his senior thesis exhibit with a head full of many more lessons than just how to paint. He’s now equipped with an ability to see problems, connections, and solutions where others see only a blank surface. I assure you this ability is not limited to the canvas.”

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