Your 2005 book, A Whole New Mind, makes the case that qualities from the right side of the brain are crucial in today’s world. Back then, you also argued that computers couldn’t take over these roles, unlike in left-brain activities such as analytical thinking and number crunching. Is this still the case now that A.I. is here?
Yes. But AI advanced far faster than I — or just about anyone — envisioned. For instance, in the book I described how software could barely recognize faces, let alone the emotions displayed on faces. Now machines can do both reasonably well, just as LLMs can write passable poetry and music. That said, the broad contours of that book are generally accurate. We will have to deploy abilities that augment machine intelligence rather than compete with it.
Sid Lee believes that atypical intelligence is essential for finding creative solutions to business problems. Do you see atypicality becoming a business advantage?
Sure. If everyone thinks the same way, everyone will think the same things — and that ceases being thinking. My guess is that the human capacity for thinking — both linear thinking and nonlinear, divergent thinking — will be enhanced by AI.
You were talking about the power of storytelling way before it became a buzzword. With its current popularity, do you still think it matters as much as it did when you first highlighted its importance?
Absolutely. Human beings are wired for stories. That was true when we were on the savannah. It’s true today when we’re staring at screens. The ability to put facts and events in context and deliver them with emotional impact is a superpower.