This week’s Culture Cues include a talk on hybrid thinking and co-creation, a book on the Earth’s least explored ecosystem and a profile about a singular scientist.
The Power of Co-Creation
I recently came across a talk by Dr. Arndt Pechstein, chairman of the Biomimicry Academy in Berlin, that resonated with me. He explained why hybrid thinking and co-creation are crucial to tackling our future challenges. In a nutshell, it’s about establishing an education system that not only focuses on the hard skills, teaching children how to write, read, calculate, and analyze but doubles down on the soft skills, such as empathy, collaboration, intuition, and emotional agility. In a complex, constantly-changing world where AI will take over many knowledge tasks, fostering our unique human traits will become even more critical.
He describes how our current model still uses standardised learning methods that date back to the industrial era incentivizing competition amongst the students rather than collaboration. “We come from an IQ world where we measure people’s intelligence with a standardized test. And we compete with each other on being experts,” Pechstein explains in his presentation. “We now move into a world in which we will need to focus on collective intelligence, the WeQ, as coined by futurist Peter Spiegel.”
We still need domain experts, but we also need collaboration. The goal is to work in cross-functional teams to shape innovations and develop previously unseen opportunities by merging different perspectives. This, in a simplified way, is what the art of co-creation and hybrid thinking is about.
AI Art: Meet DALL·E 2
DALL·E 2 is an AI system that creates images based on a text prompt. Just type in a phrase and it establishes stunning visualizations in your desired style. It can also create different versions of the same image. The name “DALL-E” is a combination of the artist Salvador Dali and the animated robot character WALL-E.
Ocean, Exploring the Marine World
The book “Ocean” is a mixture of science, history, and art about the Earth’s least explored ecosystem. Only five percent of the oceans have been discovered, sparking even more mystery and fascination about this vast aquatic universe. The book spans 3000 years of research, from ancient nautical cartography to stunning artworks by Kerry James Marshall, Vincent van Gogh, and Yayoi Kusama – a visual celebration of humans’ relationship with the marine world.
James Lovelock – A Singular Scientist
I highly recommend this profile on British scientist James Lovelock published in AEON. The inventor of the Gaia theory, who recently passed away aged 103, was an independent mind who lived the idea of hybrid thinking. He contributed to many fields, from environmental science and cryobiology to exobiology. His Gaia hypothesis proposes that the Earth is a self-regulating synergistic system in which living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings to keep the conditions for life in balance. For example, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. This process helps to regulate the levels of atmospheric gases and keep the Earth’s climate within a narrow range that is suitable for life. Similarly, the activity of microorganisms in the soil helps to regulate nutrient cycling and maintain the fertility of the Earth’s surface.
Citizens – Why the key to fixing everything is all of us
A few weeks back, I attended Barcelona’s Fixing the Future Festival, where the authors Jon Alexander and Ariane Conrad introduced the book “Citizens – Why the key to fixing everything is all of us.” It’s a call to leave the consumer story behind and step into the citizen story instead. That means actively engaging in society and being the change we wish to see. “Acknowledging the citizen in ourselves is often easier said than done,” the authors write. “It bucks the prevailing wisdom that would have us believe that humans are lazy, greedy, self-centered, and apathetic. It risks being judged naive or unrealistic. The citizen also mandates that we become active instead of passive and commit rather than complain.” Are you ready to be a citizen yet? Maybe after reading this book, you are.