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Who's In This Podcast
Helen Todd is co-founder and CEO of Sociality Squared and the human behind Creativity Squared.
Lori Mazor is the CEO and founder of SYNTHETIVITY is a trailblazer in generative AI executive education, where she teaches AI with a Human Touch™.

Ep52. Lori Mazor: Go Beyond the Binary

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Ep52. A.I. — Go Beyond the Binary: Reimagine Creativity on the Spectrum between Control and Chaos with “TEMPERATURE: Creativity in the Age of AI” Author Lori Mazor

At the bleeding edge of generative A.I., this week’s guest on Creativity Squared, Lori Mazor, boasts a background extending to prestigious institutions like Cornell Tech, Fordham University, New York Tech, NYU, and Tufts.

As the CEO and Founder of SYNTHETIVITY, Lori teaches executive leaders about the transformative power of generative artificial intelligence. Drawing on her unique background in architecture and a passion for pushing the boundaries of technology, Lori has already educated over 3,000 leaders in just six months. 

Also a distinguished architect, strategist, and celebrated multimedia artist, Lori has won industry awards and her creative work has been featured in major publications. 

In this episode, Lori and Helen dive into Lori’s new book, “Temperature,” which explores creativity in the age of A.I. Lori challenges traditional notions of creativity and discusses how A.I. can enhance human creativity. She also shares her manifesto for embracing A.I. responsibly and offers insights from her experiences at various conferences as well as her teaching endeavors. 

Can we code machines to be as creative as humans?

Discover Lori’s answer and more in this thought-provoking episode! 

Redefining Creativity: From Commodore 64 to the Birth of “Synthetivity”

Lori begins the conversation by recounting her journey into the world of A.I. and creativity,  whichstarted in her childhood. She fondly recalls her early interests in theatre and basic programming with a Commodore 64, which laid the foundation for her later explorations in  artificial intelligence.

Lori’s career path led her from architecture to university administration and eventually to her current focus on GenAI.

Her experiences are detailed in her book, “Temperature,” which examines the relationship between creativity and artificial intelligence.

“At that moment, I was really using all parts of my brain. And I think it took like, another 40 years for me to realize that that actually was my calling.”

Lori Mazor

Lori emphasizes that creativity is not confined to the arts. It exists in every profession, she explains, from architects to analysts. 

She goes on to challenge the traditional left-brain/right-brain dichotomy, explaining that creativity involves the entire brain and is a process that includes divergent and convergent thinking, conflict resolution, and decision-making.

Lori’s insights are grounded in her extensive experience in architecture and executive education. She illustrates how creativity can be harnessed and nurtured across various domains, emphasizing that every individual has creative potential, regardless of their field.

One of the central themes of Lori’s book is the concept of “synthetivity.” This term, a portmanteau of synthesis and creativity, redefines creativity as the synthetic making of things. It emphasizes the process of combining existing elements in new ways, rather than creating from nothing. Lori explains that this idea emerged from her studies in game theory and her observations of how people interact with rules.

“Synthesis is taking what is available in the world around us and mixing it up, right? Making something that appears to be different than what we’ve seen before in a synthetic way.”

Lori Mazor

Lori’s exploration of “synthetivity” provides a fresh perspective on creativity. She argues that creativity is not just about originality but also about the innovative recombination of existing elements. This approach has profound implications for how we understand and foster creativity in various contexts, from education to business.

Creativity and Ethics in the Age of A.I. 

Lori’s book, “Temperature,” delves into the concept of creative climate, both for A.I. and humans. She explains that A.I. models have a parameter called “temperature” that can be adjusted to control the randomness or precision of outputs. This concept parallels human creativity, where individuals thrive in different climates – some prefer structured environments, while others excel in more chaotic, open-ended settings.

Temperature literally is this parameter in A.I. models that allows you to dial it up for randomness and dial it down for precision.”

Lori Mazor

Lori discusses the role of rules in creativity, explaining that the writing of rules is itself a creative act. By understanding how people respond to rules, managers can better foster creativity within their teams. She provides practical examples of how different types of rules can either enhance or stifle creativity, depending on the context and the individuals involved.

The people who write their own rules have the most creative output.”

Lori Mazor

Lori’s insights into the creative process are deeply rooted in her experience with A.I. tools. She shares how she uses A.I. to explore different creative avenues, from generating images to writing music. Her approach demonstrates the potential of A.I. to augment human creativity, making it accessible to a wider audience.

A significant part of Helen and Lori’s discussion also revolves around the ethics of A.I. use.  Lori shares her manifesto for embracing A.I. responsibly, highlighting the importance of acknowledging and addressing the biases inherent in A.I. tools. Both agree on the need for continuous effort in ensuring diversity and representation in A.I.-generated content.

As I was playing with A.I., I was writing about it in real-time. And it wasn’t very far in when I started to realize the bias, particularly in image generators. That bias is really a human bias, right? The machine has absorbed a compendium of human knowledge.”

Lori Mazor

Lori’s manifesto includes practical steps for using A.I. ethically, such as understanding the cultural significance of terms used in A.I. prompts and actively curating outputs to represent diverse perspectives. She stresses the importance of not blindly trusting A.I. outputs but instead using them as a starting point for further human refinement.

I want to make sure that I’m contributing to loving every single human being on the planet for the person that they are and representing that in the work that I put out in the world.”

Lori Mazor

Lori’s commitment to ethical A.I. use is not just theoretical. She provides concrete examples of how she has navigated the challenges of bias in A.I. tools, ensuring that her outputs align with her values. This practical approach offers valuable guidance for others looking to use A.I. responsibly.

Pioneering the Future

Lori is optimistic about the future of A.I. and its potential to enhance human creativity. She believes that A.I. can be programmed to mimic the full creative process and that, ultimately, machines will be able to operate creatively on par with humans.

But what makes something truly creative and meaningful? Lori explains her view that people too often equate creativity with originality. She challenges this notion by emphasizing that, while unconventional ideas may catch attention, they are not inherently valuable unless they resonate with a large number of people. 

It’s not that thing that we’ve thought it is, which is, like, just be as different as possible, right? We tend to call that weird, not necessarily meaningful.”

Lori Mazor

She envisions a world where personalized creative experiences are accessible to everyone and where A.I. can help identify and elevate meaningful content amidst the growing volume of generated material.

I think creativity is really about meaning…what is meaningful to many versus what is meaningful to you.”

Lori Mazor

Lori’s vision for the future includes the development of more sophisticated A.I. tools that can assist in a wide range of creative endeavors. She shares her excitement about current advancements in A.I.-generated music and video, highlighting how these tools are becoming more accessible and powerful.

Throughout the episode, Lori shares personal anecdotes that illustrate her journey and insights. For instance, she recounts a pivotal moment during her studies in game theory, where she explored the relationship between rules and creativity. This exploration led her to develop a taxonomy of rules, which she later integrated into her understanding of A.I. and creativity.

Lori also shares a story about her experiences managing creative teams in architecture. She observed that different teams responded to the rules and constraints in various ways, leading to different creative outcomes. These observations further reinforced her belief in the importance of understanding and leveraging individual differences in the creative process.

“I was really looking for: Is there a better way of writing the rules to maximize the creative potential of all teams, right? And all individuals, regardless of where you start, so that we can get it all? Right, I’m a little bit greedy in that way I wanted on budget, I wanted on schedule, and I want it to be spectacular, right?”

Lori Mazor

These anecdotes not only provide a deeper understanding of Lori’s perspectives but also illustrate how Lori’s theoretical insights are grounded in real-world experiences and practical applications.

The Path Forward

Lori’s conversation with Helen offers a thought-provoking exploration of the intersection of A.I. and creativity. Lori challenges traditional notions of creativity, presenting a vision where A.I. enhances rather than diminishes human creative potential. Her emphasis on ethical A.I. use and her innovative concept of “synthetivity” provide a fresh perspective on how we can harness technology to enhance our creative processes.

As we navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of A.I., Lori’s message is clear: Everyone has the potential to be creative, and by embracing A.I. responsibly, we can unlock new levels of creative expression and innovation.

Everybody is creative. Everyone is creative. No matter whether you love spreadsheets, or you are a lawyer, or you are an artist, we all have it.”

Lori Mazor

Links Mentioned in this Podcast

Continue the Conversation

Thank you, Lori, for joining us on this special episode of Creativity Squared. 

This show is produced and made possible by the team at PLAY Audio Agency: https://playaudioagency.com.  

Creativity Squared is brought to you by Sociality Squared, a social media agency who understands the magic of bringing people together around what they value and love: http://socialitysquared.com.

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