The real use of creativity is one of the lesser known aspects of our psyche.
I have been a crazy fan of the mind.
It is fascinating to me that this tiny organ is capable of packing enough power to lift a person from dust to fame with a single idea which originated somewhere in the depths of his brain. We have managed to land ourselves on the moon, climb the highest of mountains, go down to the depths of the sea and train the fiercest of beasts.
Yet, we use only 10% of our brain.
What would happen if we were to use more?
Diversity in our minds
Some people learn faster than others.
I myself am not so good in learning a physical game, but I seem to be picking up tunes pretty easily. A friend I have has never forgotten a phone number. There are people who could never score in school but became very successful later in their lives using their ingenious ideas. Albert Einstein, one of the greatest brains of our times failed in every subject except Math and science in his University entrance exam.
What explains these anomalies?
As we dig deeper, it not only gives us some answers, it also shows us how we really live our lives. If we do go deep enough perhaps we might even be able to use more than 10% of our brains someday. It is by the use of creativity that we enhance our potential.
Recent research has given us some incredible facts about the brain.
Long story short – our brain learns by “Competing with itself” and “memorizing failures”.
Development of the Chess program Deep Blue by IBM gave us a brief glimpse of the enormous power of the human mind and the use of creativity.
Developed with the assistance of four leading Chess Grandmasters and costing Millions of Dollars in research, Deep Blue was a supercomputer created between 1985 and 1996 by the IBM. It could measure the possibilities in a game typically 6 to 8 moves ahead and at times up to 25 moves ahead. Each calculation involved an analysis of case studies of hundreds of thousands of Master games fed in its memory. In the opening position, it could analyze 700,000 games to determine possible outcomes while coming to a conclusion on the best move. In 1996, the Deep blue averaged at assessing about 100 million positions per second.
The Challenge was against Chess Legend Gary Kasparov, a human being.
Kasparov could assess only three moves per second.
On February 1996, the reigning world Champion Kasparov defeated the Deep Blue on a series of 6 matches – where the Deep Blue could win only one match and Kasparov won the next three and managed to draw the other two.
IBM did not fall back. Deep Blue was heavily upgraded and played again with Kasparov in May 1997. This time, it defeated him in another 6 game rematch and became the first computer to ever defeat the world champion.
The Contrast – Man and Machine
Now while the Deep Blue had only one job – to play chess, Kasparov was a man living a life. He had thousands of other thoughts such as walking, talking politics with friends, perhaps taking his kid to school and so on. Chess was one of the things he was good at, but not the only thing he knew how to do. Besides, he also had real emotions such as being frustrated in trying to win or complacent, which the computer had no clue of.
How then, was it possible for a man to defeat a Computer so powerful that was built over years of research and Millions of dollars of expenditure?
The human mind and pattern detection
The magic lies in the fact that our mind does not see possibilities as numbers like computers do. We do not think of all possible outcomes and then determine the best one. We feel the environment by the use of creativity.
The human mind is equipped to sense patterns which remind them of a certain outcome. If you have felt a burning sensation ever, it will not take you more than a moment to realize that you should stay away from fire.
When you see a plane, you immediately identify the object as a plane, because that is how you have seen planes are. You do not take in the information bit by bit, you do not have to correlate algorithms. You simply come to a conclusion as a whole by pattern detection.
Let us take an example.
Say you have a Family robot who can scan people coming to your house. While he scans your friend and uses facial recognition to tell you he is a Human being called “Gary”, you will simply lay eyes on Gary and determine that he has had a long day, looks tired and is probably come here to tell you something important.
And you could do this while still working on your computer!!
Scientists call this Creative randomness, and it’s the ability to sense a pattern. This does not involve our logical thinking at all. Rather, it is instinctive for us to just know what is right.
The computer, even with a RAM capable of evaluating 100 million moves per second, did not match up with Kasparov because he was using a different strategy. His mind was simply looking for patterns and if it saw a destructive pattern, it stood guard. All this was instinctive for him.
However, in 1997, after the Deep Blue was upgraded, things were different.
Kasparov had mentioned in an interview that in 1997 the Deep Blue played like a human being, that as if it sensed danger and avoided it consciously like a real person.
In 1996, Kasparov played with a machine which could judge possibilities and algorithms. In 1997, the upgrade turned the Supercomputer into a virtual human mind. This time, he was playing a creative machine which did not depend on numbers alone.
How did the Deep Blue defeat Kasparov then?
Yes, the new 1997 Deep Blue could calculate 200 Million chess move possibilities per second while Kasparov was banking on only three. Yet, Kasparov won the first game. The speed of calculation did not matter.
The real upgrade which was made to Deep Blue in 1997 is fascinating. The Deep Blue was upgraded to resemble the human mind, to understand patterns rather than individual possibilities and algorithms. By the use of creativity the Computer learnt Kasparov’s game during the first match.
It was taught to learn from its mistakes and adapt as the game progressed. This meant, apart from finding patterns of games in its database, it was also finding patterns in the opponent’s strategy and adapting itself.
This was the reason why the Grandmaster felt he was playing with a person and not a machine.
The creativity and adaptation were the reasons why better decisions were taken by the 1997 Deep blue and the reason behind its win.
Use of creativity
The mind is not a static organ with set parameters.
It is evolving every day.
Every time you make a mistake, your neurons fire up to create a bad memory. The purpose of this memory is to remind you what not to do. If you make the same mistake twice your memory becomes stronger and prevents you from going that way ever again.
It is hence not metaphorical when you say “We learn from our mistakes”. That’s exactly what happens. The brain evolves by its use of creativity and learning from each mistake. Eventually, the memories gel together to form patterns which help you to avoid making mistakes altogether. This has happened the first time you learned how to drive or when you started learning a language or playing the guitar.
A creative mind can sense and adapt to patterns. It far surpasses logical thinking.
Compete against yourself just like your brain
Ironically, many of us struggle through life competing with other people around us. They try to compete with colleagues, co-students, and teammates to prove they are the best. A huge majority of people are fond of the proverbial rat race as we know it.
This can become frustrating, spoil relationships and be disappointing.
Analogically speaking, this is like trying to measure the options around you and taking the best decision – like the 1996 primitive Deep Blue. You are not making the best use of creativity.
You can do better than that.
Anyone who has become successful will tell you – the only way to race is to race against yourself! If you are a little better than what you were yesterday, I can vouch that you will shoot up above all else and make your mark in life.
I am a sailor working in one of the most unforgiving professions in the world and I see that every day on my ship with people from all around the globe.
Compete with yourself, and just be a little better every day!
After all, that’s the way your brain does it! And that’s how it knows the answers to every conceivable or non-conceivable problem!
Do not look away. The only way to look is within.