More Soul, More Youthful Thinking and More Thinking Among Machines

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What is artificial intuition?

How can it be developed?

What if machines not only learn like children but also think like children?

What would happen if machines started to think together?

Bill Gates has suggested that robots should be taxed and that the money should be used to pay the people who have lost their jobs to robots. On the one hand, it makes sense to suggest that if robots will be depriving humans of work, then the company should simply pay tax for using their skills, and the money should be put into supporting the rest of society.  He also believes that certain jobs cannot be replaced by robots such as nurses and teachers.

Yet, perhaps we are just simply missing the point with using AI – Artifcial Intelligence. Perhaps AI offers a spark to kickstart a new way of building a society. A new way to ensure that everyone has a roof over their head and food on the table. New ideas are needed rather a simple application of the old practices.

The same thing could perhaps also be said about the way we think about machines and the way we design robots. If we look at perhaps the most transforming part of human history it is that we are not relying on individual thinking. Instead, the collaborative and collective thinking is one of driving forces behind our remarkable progress.

So perhaps we should focus on what potential there are among machines rather than within machines.

Moreover, the focus is often on building machines that can deal with increasingly higher volumes of data. Yet, to explore ideas such as building artificial intuition, may require that we instead look into ways that machines that use as little data as possible. Thin-slicing is a powerful concept. Designing machines that can improvise, without a script or a plot and react to new environments require new ways to approach the way we think about AI.

What if several machines could be connected to work intuitively on little information? Perhaps a solution could not be found by using this approach but maybe new insights and ways to approach a problem would emerge.

Children are the best learners. Developmental cognitive scientists and computer scientists have been working together to figure out how young children can learn so much so quickly. A problem with AI is that it has been very difficult to predict what aspects that would be most difficult to solve. Problems such as how to play chess and to detect statistical pattern have turned out to be fairly easy task to solve – admittedly. they could still be improved upon. Yet, a limited generalise can only be achieved from statistical learning, this is regardless of whether you are a child, an adult or a computer.

Children are often good at inventing new concepts and often their thinking is non-conventional – out-of-the box thinking. They link ideas and say things that do not make sense. Creating machines that could create new concepts and explore hypotheses that are not obvious could, just like listening to children, result in new insights.

What if you could transform the way we build AI? What would you do?

(Suggestion, read our other posts about intuition…..)

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Creative Marketing – Thinkibility Boost

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Classical marketing campaigns are mostly massive in nature, like the Napoleonic Wars. By using brute force and heavenly leaning on resources (people, money, gun power, logistics, management skills) they ty to win. Basically, both parties are in the same game, each trying to use better but more-of-the-same tactics.

An alternative for the not so powerful is to turn to guerrilla warfare. Poor but highly dedicated small teams use asymmetric tactics to surprise and confuse the enemy, thereby using maximal creativity.

But what is creative thinking?

Creative thinking is not doing more-of-the-same


(in the example: applying straight lines), but breaking away from that, for instance by using curved or broken lines.

Thinking patterns
However, it is not easy to break away from standard patterns.
Also, any time we break a standard way of thinking, a behaviour or new idea, bystanders will react with a rejection: this is impossible, it can’t work, it is too costly, complex, difficult or risky. Every time a negative is used, the thinking stops.
Creative marketing is escaping from the standard approaches that are used by big companies. But how to get new ideas?

Normally we think with the speed of light to the first satisfying idea
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By that, we miss interesting alternatives along the way
With a Provocative Operation we break away from mainstream thinking. The Provocative Operation (moving outside the mainstream to the green spot) is a attempt to escape standard thinking in order to arrive at an original idea.

For instance: Apple sells our (paper)notebook together with their notebooks.

We will discuss four creative thinking techniques to escape standard thinking:

  • Taken for Granted
  • The Provocation
  • Use Resources
  • Focus

Taken for Granted

Make a list of taken for granted things of a product, at least 15. That is what is normal, assumed to be, standard, generally accepted or obvious. Then we escape by abandon it or modify it.

It is taken for granted that a restaurant has a venue and that the guests are dressed.

A restaurant does not have a venue. That could lead to the idea to set up a picnic service for romantic people.

Guests are naked. That could lead to the idea of a nudist restaurant.

To get creative marketing ideas about for instance an Eco bottle. What is obvious of a bottle (form, materials, filling, getting it, getting rid of it, etc.). Then modify (remove, amplify, change, combine, etc).

The Provocation

Try to escape negatives by redefining criticism by “this is interesting” and “under what circumstances might this have value”, or “could we create value out of this?”. The aim of the Provocation is to move forward the thinking towards an idea that works.

Sandwiches will make themselves

Senor citizens, refugees and children donate by age for using supporting services.

Use Resources

We tend to solve problems by using known and standard solutions. For instance: for attaching something to the ceiling we automatically think of a ladder. But only after we give ourselves the explicit thinking order to use what is at hand, we come up with alternatives: using tables, making a tower of bodies, using the walls, making a long pole.

This creativity technique is also called: think inside the box, meaning no adding additional resources

Make a list of props (things) and persons in your immediate surroundings. Think up in what ways they could contribute or add value.

Integrated Values

A petrol company wanted to create more brand loyalty. That is not simple, for most drivers petrol is just petrol. One of the company’s resources is the car driver. By getting under the skin of the driver, they discovered that getting a parking place in town is an important value for the customer. So they set up a cooperation with parking garages. For the drivers, the petrol company and the parking garage a win-win situation. Together they delivered an integrated value.

Could we design integrated values for the customers of a fruit selling shop?

Focus

Defining the thinking task before beginning an idea generation session is one of the most neglected stages.

Most starting questions are far too broad defined. For instance. In What Ways Might We (IWWMW) get more clients.

However, it is more helpful to break it down into smaller topics, as “IWWMW add more value to our product”,“IWWMW get more clients with help of our existing clients”, “IWWMW use other product to sell ours. Redefine at least 15 IWWMW’s in order to escape from the obvious ones and get a really creative challenge.

Avoid formulating IWWMW’s becoming too small. In that case, the IWWMW will just be a concrete solution and will not give you any direction for further searching new ideas.

Then make the challenge less boring and sexier. That is: make them more imaginative, outreaching, challenging, interesting. For instance: sex up “IWWMW get more clients by using our existing clients”.“Our clients collect so much organic waste that we have to export it”.

Then add a constraint: people, money, time, channels.

Finally construct a propelling question, a question that drives forward the effort for creative thinking by using a bold ambition and a significant restriction. For instance: “let’s get 50 more clients by firing all account managers”.

Again, the technique of the creative focus is to force oneself outside common thinking. The technique on the focus can be applied to all of the four of the marketing mix:

  • functionality, packing and service of the Product
  • policies about paying and Price
  • sales, advertisements, Publicity
  • and Promotion logistics, storage, inventory and selling channels

Creative Marketing is all about standing out of your competitors, being perceived as a Blue Fish, at no costs.

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See also:

 

What Big Data, what information dominance?

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A new adage is blowing around in the world of innovation. According to Wikipedia, The term “big data” often refers simply to the use of predictive analytics, user behavior analytics, or certain other advanced data analytics methods that extract value from data, and seldom to a particular size of data set. Analysis of data sets can find new correlations to “spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on”.
It is reminiscent of an early US Navy doctrine, as a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch of knowledge or belief system. As such, it is a thinking pattern, in which is stated that “information superiority permits the conduct of operations without effective opposition”.
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However, in an electronic war game back in 2002 one aircraft carrier, ten cruisers and five out of six amphibious ships were sent to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in the span of just one hour, resulting in the virtual death of over 20.000 US service personnel.

It was the result of an asymmetric strategy by the opponent forces.

Red, commanded by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, adopted an asymmetric strategy, in particular, using old methods to evade Blue’s sophisticated electronic surveillance network. Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders to front-line troops and World-War-II-style light signals to launch airplanes without radio communications.
Red received an ultimatum from Blue, essentially a surrender document, demanding a response within 24 hours. Thus warned of Blue’s approach, Red used a fleet of small boats to determine the position of Blue’s fleet by the second day of the exercise. In a preemptive strike, Red launched a massive salvo of cruise missiles that overwhelmed the Blue forces’ electronic sensors and destroyed sixteen warships (Wikipedia)It is the same kind of bold thinking we noticed in our blog Thinking outside the SeaMap:  “doing different things” or “escaping the temptation to do more-of-the-same but only better”.

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Military strategists distinguish between symmetric and asymmetric warfare. Symmetric warfare is characterized by standing armies that follows more or less the same tactics and organized in the same way. Their standard mode of operation can be traced back to Napoleonic Warfare.

Guerrilla warfare is an escape from fighting according to the rules imposed by the often far more powerful opponent. Therefore, this strategy is often applied by less powerful opponents. The most famous form is guerrilla warfare, next to terrorism.

Asymmetric competitor strategies could be an effective approach in business. Basically, it is not playing the game similar to the other companies, that is selling and marketing the same products as competitors but cheaper and better. It is about disruptive innovation, changing the rules in the market, by delivering a complete different product than you competitor does. It is all about gaining competitive advantage by creating an unique niche in the market. Playing another race at a different circuit.

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There is much more to say about the embarrassing destruction of the mighty US Navy, as the over reliance on technological superiority and information dominance. It’s all about big organizations and the neglect of intuition about the intentions and capabilities of the competitor.
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Asymmetry

There is much more to say about the embarrassing destruction of the mighty US Navy, as the over reliance on technological superiority and information dominance. Also, the neglect of intuition about the intentions and capabilities of the enemy.

Disclaimer: Now you have heard  about the advantage of disruptive innovation or step-out innovation and decide that your organization should do “some of that.” But most organizations are designed to do something else very well. Namely, what they are already doing. You may have a brilliant vision, you may have identified the next great idea, but organizational routines, standard Key Performance Indicators and existing organizational structures will prevent proper execution: The company will will continue to do what they are already doing succesfully: ” a tiny bit better and a tiny bit cheaper?” See “Why Big Companies Can’t Innovate” by Maxell Wessel.

See also the video: Disruptive Innovation Explained by Clay Christensen.

Jumping Between Projects and Thinking

How can you best divide your attention?

Is it better to focus on one project?

Or is it better alternating your attention between two or more projects?

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Our brains are a wonderous box and once we fill it with ideas, we can explore new possibilities and sometimes the most amazing solutions and insights may appear. Consciously focusing the attention on certain aspects may lead to new insights but we do not always need to actively think about something.

Our brains can bake ideas without us consciously being aware it. We gather ingredients or knowledge, then we mix it up and allow it to bake in our brains. If we put the right ingredients in the oven and use the right temperature or thinking tools, allow it time to bake then we can provoke ideas out of our brains.

The brain is complex and we do not know exactly how it works. Yet, taking a break to work on something else can help us avoid falling into the trap of using existing solutions. A break may help us to break the pattern. We can also use thinking tools such as provocations to help us break away from existing solutions. But if the problem is tricky, it could be good to simply jump between projects instead of blindly focusing on finding a solution to one problem.

Incubation, as it is called in creative circles, is when we allow an idea to rest in our mind. Taking a break from the project to go for a walk, focusing on a hobby, or indeed jumping between projects prevents us from stressing out the parts of the brain that are dealing with finding a solution to the problem. The neurons are firing in the same parts of the brain and this may make it more difficult to fire neurons in other parts of the brain – making it difficult to explore new possibilities.

If you are working on a project or problem that requires mostly a logical approach to thinking mix it with a project or problem that requires a creative approach to thinking. This may result in a more creative solution. And if you are facing a creative challenge, switching to a problem that requires a logical approach to thinking may help you discover aspects that you are cognitively blind to.  If you plan your projects, jumping between them can require different modes of thinking. This approach may promote creative ideas and solutions as well as more solutions that are logical.

Looking for a creative project? Japanese art director Tatsuya Tanaka has a miniature photo project, where he uses office supplies, food, and other found objects that he utilizes as set pieces or backdrops for miniature inhabitants.  You can see new images from the Miniature Calendar project every single day on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Future non-jobs – Thinkibility Nibble

gettyimages-128810949According to Oxford University, 47% of jobs will disappear in the next 25 years. Could you think up which ones?

Take any profession (doctor, mechanic, teacher, nurse, etc) and/or any branch (consumer products, construction, finance, retail)  and confront it in a matrix, one for one, with

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Could you imagine what jobs will disappear as a result of (a combination) of new technologies?

If you take as working hypothesis that all intermediary jobs (bank employees, notaries, tax officers)  will disappear, what jobs will likely cease to exist by 2040?

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Why not check out the blog post The DIY of the Future for inspiration?

Imagine if

Imagine if. . .

Why not write down  “What if” questions that you would like to explore in 2017?

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The importance of asking questions for the innovative process as well as for the development of Thinkibility have been explored in several blog posts. In addition, the importance of teaching children to ask questions has been discussed at the blog Sparking Children’s Thinkibility.

Examples of fun as well as useful “What if” questions that can lead to new ideas and a new perspective of looking at the world. Think dive into a sea of questions instead of searching for ideas can lead to deeper analysis and a better understanding of that problem. The end result of this approach can result in smarter ideas on how to tackle it.

Creativity and innovation are about change. Change can be intimidating and scary,  but it can also be liberating and powerful to break away from patterns, habits and the way we normally think about a topic.

When we discuss creativity we typically talk about it in terms of having ideas that are unique and valuable. Questions provide a frame for not only the focus but also a frame into which the answers fall. Like ideas, questions can always be improved upon. There is no perfect question. . .

Some examples of exciting questions are:

  • What if guilt-free is the new status symbol?
  • What if experiences become the new currency instead of information?
  • What if I can the label of my product to raise awareness of an endangered species?

For inspiration check out these links.

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Board of Innovation

Interesting Reading Areas 2017

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Since we started the posts Interesting Reading Areas since 2013 we noticed that most end-of-the-year lists of books consist of books that have already been read by others and many of the lists consist of the same books.

Often the lists consist of books that have topped the sales lists during the year. The underlying message could be interpreted as “if you haven’t read these books, you must be a cultural savage, that you do not belong to the well-informed elite and not be able to go along in conversations”. Anyhow, this is a passive, following mainstream media approach.

Another, more active approach is to make your own list about Interesting Reading Areas (IRA), areas of your interest for development and knowledge acquisition. And then look for relevant writers, books and DVD’s belonging to that IRA.

We thought it would be nice to make a list of subjects or interesting areas for ourselves because we believe we would gain from such a list to help us preparing for the next parts of Thinkiblity – Thinking about Thinking, Creativity, Innovation and Design. Perhaps you may enjoy the list and it will give you some directions for reading about Thinkibility. Just reading the titles would give you some new insides.

If you can help us to expand the list, please add a comment. Please note, we have not yet read the books! We invite you to make your own IRA’s and to find for each subject the interesting books and thinkers.

About Concepts

The study of concepts has advanced dramatically in recent years, with exciting new findings and theoretical developments. Core concepts have been investigated in greater depth and new lines of inquiry have blossomed, with researchers from an ever broader range of disciplines making important contributions. In this volume, leading philosophers and cognitive scientists offer original essays that present the state-of-the-art in the study of concepts. The Conceptual Mind: New Directions in the Study of Concepts 

What is Thinking? Human thinking is probably the most complex phenomenon that evolution has come up with until now. This book focuses on assembling building blocks for a conceptual framework that might – after several iterations – contribute to a future theory of thinking. It brings together an international group of leading scientists coming from the different fields upon which a theory of thinking must build: brain and cognitive sciences, experimental and developmental psychology, evolutionary anthropology and biology, linguistics, transcultural neuroimaging, modeling, and philosophy. Towards a Theory of Thinking – Building Blocks for a Conceptual Framework. Editors: Glatzeder, Britt, Goel, Vinod, von Müller, Albrecht

This book is the second volume of the Parmenides book series “On Thinking” dedicated to exploring current approaches and contributions towards a fuller understanding of human thought processes.

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In The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them the theoretical foundations and the origins of what we call concept maps are presented.While at first glance concept maps may appear to be just another graphic representation of information, understanding the foundations for this tool and its proper use will lead the user to see that this is truly a profound and powerful tool. Concept mapping has been shown to help learners learn, researchers create new knowledge, administrators to better structure and manage organizations, writers to write, and evaluators access learning.

About non-mainstream

It’s easy to find a good movie (well at least a movie for our general taste) between the big blockbusters, when wherever you look you see a giant poster or ad from it. But it’s a bit harder to get around a good, not so famous but nevertheless highly entertaining movie. Six upcoming non-mainstream films to watch out for!

Non-Mainstream Dimensions of Global Political Economy: Essays in Honour of Sunanda Sen is a collection of essays written by scholars of global repute in honour of Professor Sunanda Sen. Each paper is well-researched and offers some new dimension to the understanding of the current global crisis, finance, and labour including the epistemological viewpoints regarding the current global order. The uniqueness of the book is that in one place one can find different heterodox positions dealing with the present global order of finance and labour – post-Keynesian, Marxist etc.

About Criticism and  Critical Thinking

Working with his students at a risk analysis center, Wildavsky examined all the evidence behind the charges and countercharges in several controversial cases involving environmental health and public safety. Here he lays out these cases in terms an average citizen can understand, weighs the merits of the claims of various parties, and offers reasoned judgments on the government’s response. But Is It True? A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues by Aaron Wildavsky

“Critical Thinking: Proven Strategies To Improve Decision Making Skills, Increase Intuition And Think Smarter!” is a well-rounded introduction to the principles of critical thinking. The book provides tips and steps that are easy to follow, yet very effective in solving problems of all kinds.

For more resources, take a tour in the bookstore of the Critical Thinking Community

In our post,  Interesting Books? we stated that we can safely assume that the majority of the books published each year (approximately 2,200,000) belong to mainstream thinking. That is: non-critical. We were reassured when researching this post. We can’t find books that are classified by search engines as, for instance, “Criticism on…” or “Critical thinking on…”. Perhaps we should search for a list of critical thinkers instead….

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We found a great resource: Critical Thinking on the Web at the website of Rationale, about health, art, post-modernism, the media and lot’s more.

However, we did find interesting books when we combined the search term criticism with the term environment. The environment has moved from a marginal concern to a major political, personal, and philosophical issue that pervades everyday life. Ecocritics try to explore issues and questions such as: What are the ethics of human interaction with the environment? What do we mean when we use the word “nature”? What does our cultural output say about our perception of the world we live in?

Ecology without Nature investigates our ecological assumptions in a way that is provocative and engaging.  This book by Timothy Morton rethinks the way we use an idea of nature to try to heal what society has damaged and introduces a new radical form of ecological criticism – dark ecology.

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Provocations and alternatives

When using the search term “Provocative Books” we were much more successful: Popular Provocative Books although we are not sure the authors themselves are non-mainstream; the prefix “popular” makes us fear the worst.

Abandon parenting, and just be a parent – is a provocation and a step away from the idea that parenting is helpful. Today, thousands of books on parenting are published every year. But what is parenting? In the book, The Gardener and the Carpenter the author Alison Gopnik explores how the concept of parenting has transformed child care into obsessive,  and goal-oriented labour. The aim with this type of parenting is to create a particular kind of child and therefore a particular kind of adult.

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The Huffington’s Post 21 Provocative Books By Women Every Bookshelf Needs might be more remote from mainstream and less “popular”.

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