6 Thinking Hats: A framework for AI advancements

Efi Pylarinou
6 min readDec 14, 2023

Thirty years ago Edward De Bono suggested that large manufacturing corporations should create their own currencies. Specifically, in March 1994, he suggested the idea of the IBM Dollar to the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation — CSFI.

For anyone who doesn’t know of De Bono, he is the father of `Lateral Thinking`. He described Parallel Thinking, also known as the Six Thinking Hats method as an alternative tool set to argument. He designed thinking tools for the real world (you can read details about his degrees, books, and ideas).

Let's wear Edward de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” to look into the recent AI advancements. This method encourages exploring the issues around AI from six distinct perspectives.


Join me and let’s put on these colored hats to systematically assess the latest AI developments.

White Hat — The Facts

o AI has achieved breakthroughs recently in language and vision due to advances in deep learning techniques, access to huge datasets, and accelerated compute power.

o Tools like Midjourney can generate realistic images from text prompts, while Large Language models like GPT-4 produce human-like text with nearly instant responses to a large variety of topics.

o The recent advancements in AI are being applied already across sectors like medical research, revising documents, and finance. The deployments are augmenting human capabilities and automating processes at a level that was not possible before. Examples include Casetext for lawyers, Tempus for precision medicine, Alpha Sense for market intelligence.

o Hundreds of AI tools for productivity, marketing, writing, design, video, chatbots have been launched this year and the list keeps growing. As we are wearing the White hat, we can only say that retention of all these tools is questionable.

2023 saw so many AI tools for different uses case that

Yellow Hat — Benefits

o AI promises to boost business productivity via automation of mundane tasks, freeing up humans for creative work.

o It can help doctors diagnose conditions more accurately, boost scientific research through analysis of massive datasets, and support education through intelligent tutoring systems.

o AI could help address societal challenges like climate change, food shortage, and disease treatment by finding solutions faster than humans could alone.

o Increased productivity as AI does certain tasks better than humans

Black Hat — Risks

o Potential for misuse of AI to automate the spread of mis/disinformation, to dangerously increase cyberattacks, and to enable surveillance against marginalized groups. AI can be used to develop sophisticated autonomous weapons.

o AI models can embed and amplify societal biases and unfairness present in their training data. Humans are biased. Generative AI is even more.

o Widespread automation via AI threatens to disrupt labor markets and eliminate jobs without adequate policies for retraining the workforce and social safety nets.


Stable Diffusion`s text-to-image model amplifies stereotypes about race and gender. The world according to Stable Diffusion is run by White male CEOs. Women are rarely doctors, lawyers or judges. Men with dark skin commit crimes, while women with dark skin flip burgers.

Red Hat — Feelings

o Excitement that AI can enhance human creativity and help solve pressing global issues. Excitement about AI enabling GDP growth and dealing with labor shortages.

o Anxiety that AI may advance too quickly without enough oversight, lead to loss of jobs/privacy, or be used to manipulate/harm people.

o Cautious optimism that with inclusive governance of AI guided by ethics, AI can empower society broadly.

A Forbes Advisor survey reports that 64% of businesses expect AI to increase productivity, demonstrating the growing confidence in AI’s potential to transform business operations [3]. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of business leaders are feeling pressure to implement AI at their organizations, but the vast majority are wary of giving up too much decision-making power.

Green Hat — Opportunities

o Invest in AI safety research and technical standards to make systems robust, unbiased, transparent, and aligned with human values.

o Develop policies to govern the use of AI, prevent misuse/bias, retrain the workforce, and ensure benefits are shared broadly across society.

o Increase public understanding of AI to build trust and enable informed debate on how AI should progress in service of humanity.

Blue Hat — Big Picture Thinking

Finally, with the blue hat, we adopt a big picture perspective. AI advancements are part of a larger, interconnected system that includes social, economic, and ethical dimensions. Developing comprehensive strategies and policies is essential to guide the responsible deployment of AI on a global scale. Collaboration between governments, industry, academia, and civil society is crucial to shaping a future where AI benefits humanity.

China and the EU have been leading on the AI regulatory front.


The EU AI act, is a provisional agreement published recently after 3-day marathon talks. (BBC news)


Despite the geopolitical tensions between the US and China which include banning access to US AI hardware and software, the reality at the open research front is different. According to the December report of the National Science Board on open science and international collaborations, US and China partnered with each other on AI far more than other countries in 2022!



Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats provides us with a more comprehensive view of the opportunities and challenges presented by AI advancements. Navigating this complex landscape needs lateral thinking. Using a structured way to challenge our own thinking on such complex issues, is the only way to avoid echo chambers, crowd thinking, and myopic views.

· Which hat color do you think is most overlooked currently, when evaluating the advancements in AI?

· What are some questions you have about AI that don’t seem to get enough thoughtful debate?

· Which hat resonated most with your own thinking around AI — the optimistic yellow hat or the cautious black hat? How do we find the right balance?

Resources: Inspired by the IEEE Spectrum article `Bezos Bucks? Get Ready for Corporate Digital Currency: Facebook failed, but another tech giant might soon pull it off` shared by David Birch.

📌 Twitter: https://twitter.com/efipm

📌 Subscribe to my YouTube Channel with my insights and industry leader interviews. New video every Wednesday: https://www.youtube.com/EfiPylarinou

📌 Apple Podcast 👉 https://buff.ly/3P1Cp1Z

📌 Spotify Podcast 👉 https://buff.ly/3xPyWaV

📌 Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/efipylarinou/

📌 TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@efiglobal

📌 Web: https://efipylarinou.com/



Efi Pylarinou

№1 #Finance Global Woman Influencer by Refinitiv 2020 & 2019. Top Global #Fintech Influencer, Futurist, #AI, #Blockchain +: 30yrs FINANCE — https://linktr.ee/Ef