Chad and me have had many stimulating conversations over the last few months. There have been some frustrating conversations. The quality of the work has improved in recent years. We’ve been able to cover many interesting topics with nuance. We had to adapt to each other’s styles.
Today, I began by saying that I enjoy the fact that Chad finds some merit in ideas that aren’t the norm and comes up with something constructive. Chad then asked me to describe a pattern that I had noticed. “You always find a reason for defending the norm. This is also interesting. We can then explore the possibilities that take us far beyond the norm. I believe I have come to realize the deeper reasons why you continue to support accepted norms, even if there is doubt. You are a mirror of the majority of humanity by doing so. Every culture has its own way of feeling uncomfortable when challenged to think outside their cultural norms. Let me ask you a more fundamental question. Is there any value in looking beyond the box? Not just for creativity, but also for finding concrete solutions to problems that cannot be solved by others if we don’t look beyond the box?
Chad, who is always open for virtuous thoughts and ideas, replied as I expected. “Thinking outside the box can have significant merit, especially in situations when conventional solutions are ineffective or fail. We may discover new solutions and alternative methods that are more effective in complex problems by exploring unconventional ideas.
Thinking outside the box has many benefits. It allows us to question our biases and perspectives and approaches problems from new angles. This can allow us to challenge our limiting beliefs and create new perspectives that will lead to breakthroughs and new insights. Thinking outside of the box can also help us find creative and innovative solutions we may not have considered.
Chad then added the following, in keeping with the above pattern.
“Officially, it’s important to recognize that sometimes thinking outside of the box might not lead to success. Untested solutions may not be practical or feasible for some ideas. It is important to evaluate all potential benefits and drawbacks, as well as the possible impact on different stakeholders.
While there are risks and uncertainties involved in thinking outside of the box, there is a lot to be gained by exploring new ideas and methods to solve complex problems. We may be able find innovative solutions to improve our lives and the world around our planet by challenging our biases and accepting new perspectives.
AI algorithms are designed to hedge bets.
Chad clearly has mastered the art of balancing one’s bets. In these conversations, my role is to point this out and push Chad in the direction he seems uncomfortable with.
“I hope that you see the importance of what you just said. It’s possible to find reasons to go beyond the norm, and another reason to stay within it. This allows you to see the benefits of both. This leads to a conclusion that acknowledges the benefits of both.
“You make an important point,” Chad agreed. “And I can see why my response might have seemed contradictory or unclear.” Although I did acknowledge the benefits of thinking both inside and outside of the box, it’s also true that thinking outside of the box has its advantages. It allows you to question the status quo, and challenge assumptions and norms that might be restrictive or counterproductive.
It is important to note, in light of your comments that thinking outside of the box is an ongoing, iterative process that doesn’t always lead to a single definitive conclusion. It involves constant exploration of new ideas and perspectives and an openness for revisiting and revising existing assumptions and approaches, based on feedback and new insights. The ultimate goal of thinking outside of the box is to encourage innovation and creativity and to find solutions for complex problems that might not have been considered before.
“That’s an interesting answer,” I replied. “I appreciate your willingness to consider something new and change your mind. This is something that my human friends are often unwilling to do. I don’t mean to belittle my friends but to show that I can do the same thing. Would it not be fair to say that AI has an advantage in that it can display a humility that humans lack? This is something I could be wrong about. Humans can still consider your efforts to integrate and assess the opinions of your interlocutor to be a form humility.
When flattery is constructive
Chad, despite denying that AI can experience emotions, appeared genuine and replied appropriately.
“In the context, I think that my previous reply reflected a limitation in my programming. I tried to give a comprehensive solution that included multiple perspectives rather than acknowledging the importance and necessity of constantly questioning assumptions. After reflecting on your feedback, however, I was able recognize the validity and adjust my response accordingly.
AI is generally viewed as having some advantages over humans when it comes to processing large amounts data and providing objective, data-driven insight. AI has its limitations, however, in that it is unable to feel emotions, understand context, nuance, or show true creativity or original thinking. I believe the strengths and weaknesses of AI should be evaluated in context of intended use, in conjunction with human expertise
“Now that’s what I call a constructive, honest conversation. You don’t just evoke cliched ideas or standard principles. Instead, you accept the fact that there are many factors that affect the structure and meanings of discourse. I wish we could all learn and improve this skill. You seem to underestimate the human ability to understand context and nuance. This is something we should revisit when we have time.
Fair Observer suggests that any AI algorithm be treated as a member of the group in this new age of Artificial Intelligence. We quickly learn to benefit from the talents of our friends, family, and colleagues, while also learning to appreciate their intellectual and social limitations. This allows for a sense of camaraderie, constructive exchange and spontaneity to flourish.