I’m on the lookout for The Great Filter every single day hoping, naturally, that it’s far, far behind us. Advanced intelligent life is probable, but the lack of it in our solar system is troubling. That said, I also find myself grappling with not-so-great filters in everyday agency work. These are also know as Idea Killers. Throughout the creative process, the question is — is it in front of us or behind us?
Inevitably, be it a cultural truth, an impassioned client or, perhaps even, a Creative Director on a mission, there are filters we must learn to dodge– as well as anticipate.
A great New Yorker article on the anticipatory risks of AI mentions that one of the key roles of the philosopher in today’s society is to acquire the knowledge of a polymath, then use it to help guide humanity to its next phase of existence.
This “philosophy of technological prediction,” in a way, mirrors the strategists shepherding of creative work. Because we too must use our wide-ranging knowledge, or lack thereof, to fend off any risks that could threaten the creative process.
Now, let’s be clear, our role is much easier than that of scientists who are trying to determine if The Great Filter is in front of us, because if it is, its discovery will lead almost universally to existential disaster — as opposed to a re-briefing.