We never know what the future brings. Nor what skills we will need. We can only guess, we can only make more or less educated assumptions of what lies around the corner.
Will the robots take over? Will AI make you and me superfluous? What should we people be good at in the future?
Jack Ma, the founder of the Chinese internet giant Ali Baba, said some time ago, that we should teach our kids those things that differentiate us from the machines. We should be good at doing the things machines can’t do.
As I interpret it: We don’t need to be supercomputers. But we need to understand the feelings, the sensations, the hopes and dreams of those that are around us.
We don’t need to be supercomputers, but we need to be imaginative, creative, and able to think about new things and solution that don’t yet exist.
And to be able to do that, we need to be able to see what is around us. To see each other, and the surroundings we live in.
Maire Gullichsen, the founder of Artek, was a legendary patron of the arts, and also a mentor of many artists. She had a big family and many of her children and grandchildren became artists.
There is a story about a person asking Maire Gullichsen what she did to raise so creative offspring. How come her children and grandchildren are so creative, she must have provided for a very stimulative upbringing?
On the contrary, Maire Gullichsen said. I tried to make everything as dull and boring as possible. So that they would be forced to be creative, to come upp with something new and interesting.
And that is what creativity is. The ability to see possibilities in the dull, in the boring. To see possibilities in places where the ordinary thought-process doesn’t see a way out.
To not accept the status quo or the limitations of the ordinary solutions.
These are things that can and should be taught and trained.
I am a politician, and an architect. To many this might seem like a very strange combination. How cold you move from architecture to legislation?
I don’t view these worlds as being so far apart. I think the creative process you learn as an architect can help you in many fields of life.
Seeing the world as an architect forces you to look around yourself. To not only look at your surroundings, but to see them.
And the creative process of an architect itself is an immensely useful tool for any profession. When you start designing a project you are faced with numerous often conflicting requirements.
The work of an architect is to see the essential in those, to analyze the surroundings, and to make the best solution possible, with all that in mind.
Writing legislation is pretty much the same thing. See alL requirements. Listen to all stakeholders. And find a solution. And then – have patience, set the goal to ten years from now, and work towards it. Just as an architect has to when embarking on a project.
A creative education, a creative background, can help in all fields of work.
There is one area in which architects beat politicians hands down.
When working as an architect, or in any profession, you often fall in love with your initial idea. Enamoured by it you proceed developing it. Until you realize that it is useless, crap, that you need to start over.
You have to kill your darlings, over and over. Until you find the right solution.
In politics we should do that, more often. Instead of clinging to the first idea we said out loud, we should ditch it when it is necessary, in order to find the right one.
Every Friday there is a climate protest on the steps of our Parliament building. Climate change is the biggest challenge we face as a species. To fight that we need solutions, big and small. We need computers, we need their calculations, but most of all we need the creative minds of coming generations.
We need a mindset that sees new solutions, that has the ability to kill its darlings and think anew. And for that, I am very happy that you are here today.