Authored Comments

I'm still young, just starting out in the business world as an engineer, so my comments perhaps aren't as valuable to this conversation, but I'll offer my thoughts anyway.

I scanned through the news coverage linked in this article, and at this Emerging Issues Forum, analytical thinking was in conflict with creative thinking, and it seems that analytical thinking currently has creative thinking in a head-lock, where it should be the other way around.

I get the sense that my understanding of the notion of analytical thinking is very different from what the Emerging Issues people are talking about. To me, analytical thinking isn't what a computer program does, it is what humans do. When repetitive task is discovered, human programmers automate it in software, and let the other humans get on with the real analytical thinking which necessarily requires creativity.

While many engineering problems are well defined and have solution templates ready to solve them, many other engineering problems don't have an optimal answer, and the optimal answer often depends on highly subjective, or otherwise difficult-to-measure, criteria that depends on what the customers want. You can isolate the variables, but for which parameters should you optimize? There is not always a clear answer, and the decision ultimately requires creative thinking, and a subjective understanding of the problem. In that sense, I see no difference between creative and analytical thinking.

Aside from that semantic disagreement, I generally agree with what the Emerging Issues people are saying. I feel like it is nearly impossible to bring up my ideas for solving business problems, and I am a bit frustrated with the repetitive work that I have to do; so often I am doing work that a computer program could do better, but no one can change it or even experiment with new ideas because the software is strictly controlled closed source. I would like to see this changed, and I like the idea of using, as they said it, the "whole human" at work while letting computers do the repetitive stuff.