English corner(November)

ISSUE83 November 2018 My UM

4 Things I Have Learnt from UM’s MOOC Course ‘Creativity’

Artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain, cloud, 5G network… today, the media seems to be flooded by these fancy techno words. It feels as if it were only last week that we heard the story of ‘Master Go players defeated by AlphaGo’, and now there are reports about how AI might replace simultaneous interpreters.
There is widespread fear and doubt about AI’s increasing power. Living in an era defined by AI, I think what distinguishes human and machine is the characteristic of creativity: boundless, rule-free, human creativity is not generated from a binary algorithm. How do we defend humanity’s dignity by developing our own creativity? The good news is that our university is offering a MOOC called ‘Creativity’, which promotes understanding of creativity in a fun and entertaining way. Below are five things I have learnt from the course:

1. Creativity is not a product. It is a process.Creativity never suddenly appears, so we need to be patient. Sources of creativity are all around us. We have to pay attention to little things in our environment, and to look at them from a different angle. Imagine that you’re a newly-arrived alien or a small child who can’t wait to see, to smell, to listen, to taste and to touch the world around you.

2. Creativity is something that comes through you, not from you.Creativity does not necessarily require the invention of a new element; instead, creativity may involve simply connecting the dots that already exist, and linking them together in a new way, and from a new perspective.

3. Creativity is about play, interests, imagination and connection.Play is the source of many ideas. When you enjoy doing something which you find interesting, you are motivated. As your imagination goes wild, you express creativity. Finally, connecting different things together may lead to an unexpected result – a creative outcome.

4. To be creative, you have to be happy first.
Creativity and happiness are closely associated and one will not happen until the other occurs. There are two components in a creative process: developing an idea, and testing that idea. You have to be patient while moving through these two steps. And, in order to break out from conventional frame of thought, you should jump out of your comfort zone to search for innovative solutions. If you want to learn more about this topic, search for ‘Creativity’ on http://www.xuetangx.com.

Contributions to this column are from the Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities