Everything Could Be Reimagined

To imagine is to see things with your brain. Things that don’t exist – yet. It’s not being crazy, not hallucinations, not dreaming. Imagination is something that you not only can control – but it’s also something you can train.  

I believe that imagination is the most poorly exploited natural resource on the planet – and therefore, the root of many of our problems.  Our education, workplaces and our culture are systematically depriving us from the great imagination we all are born with.

Historically we humans have always simplified our understanding of the world in stories. Stories of right and wrong, good and evil. But now, computer vision, big data and AI can help us understand and visualise complexity that used to be incomprehensible for us.

Every aspect of life is an infinitely complex point cloud with billions of data points. Not only weather forecasts or the stock market, but also how we humans are connected, socially, culturally, and emotionally. Instead of being afraid of AI, we should be inspired and learn from its new understanding of the world.

We must learn to address problems, not from our own point of view, but from all points of view. We must learn to see things, not as they are, but as they potentially could be. We must re-learn how we learn – and train our imagination like athletes.

I’m an artist so I don’t have any answers to the big challenges the world is facing. But I’m asking the question; are we addressing the problems from the right angle? If we can’t imagine things to be anything except what they already are, how can we expect things to change?

Everything is a poor version of what it potentially could be. Everything could be re-imagined. Including ourselves.

Håkan Lidbo is an artist and innovator at Rumtiden Idea Lab in Stockholm, Sweden, exploring the intersections between art, music, science, games, technology and society.