Can Machines be Creative? An Interview with Jeongki Lim: Instructor, Creativity and A.I. Specialization, Parsons School of Design, The New School

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Jeongki Lim is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Design and Management, and the instructor for the new Creativity and A.I. Specialization from Parsons School of Design, The New School. In this intermediate-level, three-course Specialization, learners develop critical perspectives on creativity and machine learning through design research. Jeongki’s research focuses on computational creativity, complexity, and design-led research that can bring value to our understanding of human creativity and innovation.

Can you tell us about the new Creativity and AI Specialization and why you feel this topic is so relevant right now?

Look at the headlines these days. Every week, we hear more news stories about artificial intelligence (A.I.). Whether the stories are on the latest breakthrough in machine learning research or controversies surrounding how A.I. is misused in the real world, no one can deny that A.I. has entered the popular consciousness and is making a substantive impact beyond academia.

One of the most striking developments in this field is what we call “creative A.I.” Being creative is an attribute that we generally don’t give out to human-made artifacts like machines. However, the fidelity of machine-made artworks, from paintings to 3D projections to music, is getting increasingly better. The creative communities are embracing these developments with both excitement and apprehension. This Specialization seeks to address this topic from a design perspective.  

Who would you say can really benefit from this Specialization?

Design as a field is inherently multidisciplinary. This Specialization is ideal for those with technical backgrounds who are willing to look at things from a different perspective, those who work in the creative industries and want to better understand A.I. research, and those who want to learn and apply design thinking strategies in their creative practice and business strategies 

What were the goals in creating this Specialization?

There are many excellent courses on machine learning and computational creativity with varying levels of technical expertise. This Specialization is made to be as inclusive as possible and seeks to push learners to develop their own critical perspective on the topics through design research frameworks. Learners can get the tools they need to apply the theories of creativity and A.I. to projects in their own careers.

What can learners expect to achieve by completing this Specialization??

Learners will be able to communicate theories and techniques behind the A.I. research, creativity studies, and design strategies. They will be able to meaningfully apply these concepts on any project of their choice. 

Is there a specific topic in the course that particularly excites you?

Yes. Throughout the course, we push the boundaries of the idea of “creative artifacts.” The word often means things that humans make that they consider to be creative. The concept starts with the material outcomes from a creative activity, like paintings or musical compositions. Then, we venture out to examine other human-made systems like economic sectors and organizations in the framework of creative artifacts. 

What would you say is the real core focus of this program?

Design research is the critical component of this program. Taking time to reflect and engage in design research activities anchors the theoretical aspects of this course and makes them relevant and applicable. 

Anything else you’d like to share about this Specialization and why it’s so special?

The Specialization is designed to be different from the common linear online learning. It asks learners to be open to different approaches to familiar topics and be willing to try something unfamiliar. There is an emphasis on doing and applying in the real-world context. Design as a field is inherently in and of the world. The learners who understand this dynamic will benefit the most. 

Thank you Jeongki Lim, for sharing your insights and introducing the new Creativity and A.I. Specialization to the global Coursera Community. We’re so excited for learners to enroll and start discovering new possibilities at the intersection of creativity and technology!

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