Digital transformation should foster human creativity | Sunday Observer

Digital transformation should foster human creativity

(Excerpts of the keynote speech delivered by the writer at the launch of Infotel 2018)

It is the creativity in us that produces new ideas for our daily life. These ideas are the building blocks of development in any society.

Using the different forms of resources brought from the past, creative ideas move the present beyond how it exists today to devise potentially better opportunities for the future. As such, creativity is, sometimes, seen as the boundary between the present and the future.

Creativity of the people is very valuable for any economy to progress. In an era where the whole world has become a single village, the survival of underdeveloped and developing economies will depend heavily on their innovativeness and thus, creativity in people has become more important than ever before.

The digital divide is the gap between those who have access to Information Communication Technology, or simply computers and the internet, and those who do not.

Although the digital divide is a widely spoken topic, the creativity divide has existed in the world since long before a digital divide. Imbalance seen in the creative abilities of people has led certain demographic fractions to be more imaginative and thus become more innovative. This has contributed largely to the differences shown in rapid self-development of some nations over the others.

Creativity

Human beings are creative by nature. Humans are born with an innate ability to express themselves through some form of a creative approach. Famous such forms are language,painting art,music and dance. These forms are then leading to communication among humans.

This doesn’t mean that the other living beings, other than humans, are not creative and do not communicate. The difference in human creativity compared to others is their ability to build on their born creativeness. Thus, any human advancement necessarily means the progressions shown in their creativeness.

Stephen Covey, the author of the famous book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ has said that every human has four endowments: self-awareness, conscience, independent will, creative imagination and these give us the ultimate human freedom... the power to choose, to respond, to change.

Looking closely, one can notice that all humans are essentially born with all four. It is the ability of the individual human to nurture these benefactions will decide the ultimate destiny of that human and then by and large the society to which that human belongs to. Hence, any form of transformation taking place in a country should principally protect and raise human creativity of its people.

At a time when the world is moving towards countries with digital economies, the immediate question to be answered is whether such a digital transformation would address only the digital divide.

Although, bridging the digital divide is of immediate importance, countries should not overlook the importance of addressing the creativity divide too, at the same time.

Digital human

It is a fair belief that the digital revolution has the opportunity to close the creativity divide by fostering and supporting human creativity. This would ensure that the next generation is more imaginative, innovative, creative, and artistic.

Crish Skinner, in his book ‘Digital Human, the fourth revolution of humanity includes everyone’, talks about the four ages of humanity. According to it, We live in the fourth age of humanity. ‘Digital Human’ explores what the fourth age of humanity means for business, banking, society and government.

As per the four ages, the first isabout becoming human. The second is about becoming civilized, when we created money. The third is on how we became commercialized, when we created banks. In this fourth age of humanity, we have turned ourselves into digital humans.

As given in the book, in this fourth age of humanity, technology is proving to be so inescapable in our lives so that we are voluntarily changing our behaviors and becoming digital humans.

The behavioral changes are as remarkable as the way digital humans relate to each other shaping to be a revolution. It is changing the way in which we talk, interact, trade, make friends and make love. It is interesting to explore the ways in which human and business relationships are changing in this modern digital age.

In such an alarming context where we usually turn a blind eye to let anything happen as per the technology advancements we tend to forget what we ought to mean by being digital. Obviously, being digital means being more human.

‘Data religion’

The Digital technologies aren’t meant to dehumanize people. Everyone should seek a digital world which offers people the opportunity to spend time more meaningfully in becoming more human.

Yuval Noah Harari in his book ‘Homo Dues, A brief history of tomorrow’, has written its last chapter on a special concept called ‘Data Religion’.

Towards the very end of this chapter, the author states that the following three processes will be seen in people in the technologically advanced future: 1. Science converging on an all-encompassing dogma, which says that organisms are algorithms and life is data processing. 2. Intelligence decoupling from consciousness. 3. Non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms may soon know us better than we know ourselves.

As per the author these three processes leave us to find the answers for the three key questions: Are organisms really just algorithms, and is life really just data processing?, What’s more valuable – intelligence or consciousness?,What will happen to society and daily life when non-conscious but highly intelligent algorithms know us better than we know ourselves?

In a future day, we will have to agree with Yuval Noah, if the things move in the present manner. Because, it is only the technology that is changing fast. Rests of the things which are not defined as ‘technology’ are not changing fast. Therefore, there is a clear decoupling of technology transformation and the social transformation. This is the dilemma we face today. Unfortunately, we are not bothered and not even taken care of the non-technological aspect.

If we need to see an economy that would raise human creativity in the digital era, the digital transformation and socio-cultural transformation should happen together. For that a new ways of social transformation is required. The social transformations of the twentieth century, will not serve today’s purpose.

Because of the disparity in the two fields, early decades of twenty- first century will surely be of continuing socio-economic, and socio-political confusion and challenge. The challenges looming ahead due to fast digital advancements may be more serious and more daunting than those posed by the social transformations that have already come about due to other revolutions.

Humans who are passionate of creativity wish that at its best, the digital revolution will blossom into a creativity revolution. However, at its worst…. Yet, to be imagined. 

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