Alice's future - through the looking glass

Creativity will be the valued commodity of the future.

No-one has to be a rocket scientist to realise that the world is changing at a phenomenal rate. While many of the underlying principles we learnt at school continue to be relevant what we do with that knowledge has changed. We are looking at a future where creativity across all disciplines will be a valued commodity.

This is especially relevant for writers.

Success relies on writers ability to create new concepts and works of the imagination.

Logic underpins our most admired inventions. This is especially so for robots and technology. What technology's ascendancy has done, however, is to throw a curve ball at us all because all those jobs, created by the application of logic are becoming redundant. Robots are taking over the mehanical jobs that are driven by logic.

Now creativity and soft skills, once seen as less important, are rising in importance. Creativity and humanity will become the valued commodity because human emotion is the thread that sets humans apart from machines.

The ability to tap into the vein of insight we all have but which is often covered by the clutter of everyday life will be encouraged and valued.

Over the summer period (winter in the Northern hemisphere) I took a step back and read two excellent books. These two books discussed the qualities that will create success in the21st century.

The first was 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, and the other was The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani.

For a writer what these two authors say is exciting. Navigating through the shift in emphasis from logic to creative will be demanding. However, writers should find this relatively easy because their work is creative, whether it is fiction or non-fiction.

Yuval Noah Harari makes it clear that artificial intelligence will create new jobs while making others redundant. Medical diagnostics will be replaced by robots but the people who manage the robots will be highly skilled and in demand.

Similar shifts will occur across all industries and we, as writers, need to think about how that applies to our world. Artificial intelligence may analyse big data sets to create stories but that is probably not on the urgent shopping list of those people solving world problems.

Machines can analyse more data than any human ever will, but who sets the parameters of the analysis? People.

The skills the world will need in the future are those that relate to human emotion and understanding.

Harari makes this distinction in his book.

“Intelligence is the ability to solve problems; consciousness is the ability to feel things — pain, hate, love, pleasure.” Yuval Noah Harari.

Writers who tap into the human quality of being able to feel will prosper.

Kurt Vonnegut said: “Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.”

We engage readers by encouraging them to empathise with our characters and their journeys. We all relate to people who overcome obstacles in magnificent ways. That is life.

So, rather than becoming downhearted by the number of books coming onto the market due to the digitisation of publishing, see how you can create powerful characters whose fortunes readers want to follow.


Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (London: Jonathan Cape, 2018). and the other was

Vishen Lakhiani, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind (USA: Rodale, 2016)

artificial intelligence
powerful characters