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An Intersection of Technology and Creativity

by malinga
November 18, 2023 1:10 am 0 comment

Technology has become the buzzword for everything. Whatever we want done, however difficult the task could be, technology is there for our rescue.

But it has not solved all the issues we have. The relationship between human creativity and technological advancements has become a subject of intense debate. Technology has of course improved efficiency and productivity. But how far it could influence our creativity remains a complex issue.

Technology is a handy tool for efficiency. It automates tasks. It facilitates easy communication. It enables real-time tracking and measurement. Apparently, technology means a significant boost in productivity, both for individuals and society.

We have grown accustomed to these benefits. At the same time, the reality of technology’s impact on creativity has become more nuanced.

The enthusiasm for emerging technologies has given way to a more grounded understanding of their limitations. We now come to realise that technology can also be a hindrance, creating distractions, imposing deadlines, and introducing rigid structures that can stifle creative expression. Users are becoming increasingly aware of technology’s blind spots, recognising that it’s not always the answer to every problem.

Creative thinking is a spontaneous art, a process of exploration and experimentation that often thrives in unstructured environments. Technology, with its emphasis on binary behaviour, can inadvertently constrain creative thinking. It can impose a sense of urgency and external pressure, diverting attention away from the intrinsic motivation that fuels true creativity.

Teresa Amabile’s Creative Componential Model provides a valuable framework for understanding the factors that influence creativity. The model suggests that creativity is not solely a product of individual talent but a result of the interplay between social environment, domain skills, creativity processes, and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation, such as monetary rewards, is often counterproductive, stifling the curiosity and exploration that drive creativity.

Technology has undoubtedly revolutionised our lives, transforming medicine, travel, communication, and countless aspects of our daily routines. It has opened up new possibilities and connected people across the globe. However, this transformation raises questions about the extent to which we should embrace technology and whether it is always a force for positive development.

Concerns about the impact of technology on creativity are valid. Creativity is not something static. It evolves alongside societal advancements. The way we express ourselves creatively may change, but the underlying human drive to create remains constant. The challenge lies in understanding how technology is influencing and potentially limiting creativity.

Alexander Rauser defines creativity as the ability to observe, interpret, and introduce new concepts and ideas. Technology, in this context, serves as a lens through which we perceive the world, providing access to information and enabling new forms of expression.

Creativity is essential for exploring new paths, imagining possibilities, and pursuing a wide range of careers. Without creativity, many professions, such as writing, design, and various forms of art, would cease to exist. Creativity fuels innovation, drives economic growth, and enriches our cultural tapestry.

Movies, TV shows, music, and other forms of entertainment rely on creativity to engage audiences and evoke emotions. Without creativity, our cultural landscape would be dull and devoid of the stories, music, and art that shape our experiences and connect us as a society.

Creativity is not a singular concept; it manifests in diverse forms, each contributing to different aspects of life. Artistic creativity finds expression in painting, music, and literature, while scientific creativity drives innovation and technological advancements. Everyday creativity manifests in problem-solving, cooking, and the countless ways we find to express our individuality.

The relationship between creativity and technology presents a complex and nuanced challenge. While technology can enhance efficiency and provide new tools for creative expression, it can also impose constraints and stifle intrinsic motivation. Making blanket statements about the existence of creativity in a tech-immersed world is fraught with difficulty.

Creativity is an ambiguous concept, defying easy definition or categorization. It is a multifaceted process that encompasses diverse skills, emotions, and experiences. This ambiguity makes it challenging to make absolute statements about its existence or its impact in the context of technology.

When examining the impact of technology on creativity, it’s crucial to define which aspects of creativity we are considering. Childhood creativity, innovation creativity, and web design creativity, for instance, have unique parameters, influences, and complications.

As such, when we discuss the existence of creativity in a world immersed in technology, it’s incredibly important to define what aspects of creativity are being impacted and why. Are we discussing childhood creativity? Innovation creativity? Web design creativity? Each has its own set of parameters, influences, and complications when it comes to technology.

When we really take a look at what we surround ourselves with, I think we’d be hard-pressed to find something that doesn’t have a creative element to it. I suppose, it is inside this tension, where the challenge begins to set in. Given the ambiguous nature of creativity, a blanket statement of ‘creativity no longer exists’ is a very hard call to make. Creativity is not just one thing, but instead, is many.

The advent of technology has paved the way for fresh channels of creative expression. Social media content creation, blogging, podcasting, and video production are now within reach for a wider audience. This democratization of creativity empowers individuals to disseminate their ideas, stories, and art globally, dismantling conventional barriers to entry.

Sri Lanka has made significant progress in the field over the past few years. The country has established itself as a hub for tech startups and innovation, with numerous initiatives aimed at promoting AI and Machine Learning (ML) technologies.

One notable example is the Sri Lanka Association for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (SLAAI), which was established to promote and support the development of AI and ML in the country. The Association has organised various events, workshops, and training programs to educate and train students, researchers, and professionals in the field of AI. The Government has also taken steps to promote the use of AI in various sectors such as healthcare, education, and agriculture.

There was a time when mastery of English was essential to stay updated on global events. However, now, with the speed at which news spreads, even Sinhala-only readers can quickly get informed. Take the example of Chat GPT; while it gained global popularity, it also made waves on local platforms, including Sinhala YouTube channels. Tech-savvy individuals worked hard to convey Chat GPT’s concepts in Sinhala, resulting in a Sri Lankan version of the chatbot being available for Sinhala speakers to communicate with.

AI may aid us in our work and streamline our processes, but various facets of human work demand emotional intelligence, and it cannot be wholly supplanted by AI. Whether AI will ever be capable of replicating emotional intelligence remains uncertain; however, for the time being, we can ONLY depend on AI to support us in our work, and not wholly rely on it. Similar to how typewriters and computers alleviated our workload, ChatGPT can also assist us in our work without entirely replacing the need for emotional intelligence. Therefore, those who work with intricate designs can take solace in the fact that ChatGPT has not yet rendered their skills redundant and they remain indispensable.

Sachitra Mahendra

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