What's the purpose of humanity if machines can learn ingenuity? The value placed on creativity in modern times has led to a range of writers and thinkers trying to articulate what it is, how to stimulate it, and why it is important. It was while sitting on a committee at the Royal Society assessing what impact machine learning was likely to have on society in the coming decades that I first encountered the theories of Margaret Boden. Her ideas struck me as the most relevant when it came to addressing creativity in machines. Boden is an original thinker who has managed to fuse many disciplines: philosopher, psychologist, physician, AI expert and cognitive scientist. In her eighties now, with white hair flying like sparks and an ever active brain, she is enjoying engaging enthusiastically with the prospect of what these "tin cans", as she likes to call computers, might be capable of.
Creativity is sometimes taken to be an inexplicable aspect of human activity. By summarizing a considerable body of literature on creativity, I hope to show how to turn some of the best ideas about creativity into programs that are demonstrably more creative than any we have seen to date. I believe the key to building more creative programs is to give them the ability to reflect on and modify their own frameworks and criteria. That is, I believe that the key to creativity is at the metalevel.
In this brief communication I first give an overview of for different branches in creativity research: investigating psychological/cognitive mechanisms of creativity; designing creativity support tools; metaphysical / philosophical / anthropological explorations on the nature of creativity; and computational models of creativity. Then I discuss their relations and complementarity and finally, in the conclusion, I suggest that an attempt to create a unified framework for creativity research would benefit the field as a whole.
My friend and I scuba dived in the Red Sea when we went to Israel. The most memorable part of this dive for me was looking up from the bottom and seeing the surface covered in beautiful purple jellyfish, penetrated by a few rays of sunlight. I have wondered how to describe or paint that beauty for quite a while, so I have decided to attempt a poem.
The game of Go played between a DeepMind computer program and a human champion created an existential crisis of sorts for Marcus du Sautoy, a mathematician and professor at Oxford University. "I've always compared doing mathematics to playing the game of Go," he says, and Go is not supposed to be a game that a computer can easily play because it requires intuition and creativity. So when du Sautoy saw DeepMind's AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol, he thought that there had been a sea change in artificial intelligence that would impact other creative realms. He set out to investigate the role that AI can play in helping us understand creativity, and ended up writing The Creativity Code: Art and Innovation in the Age of AI (Harvard University Press). The Verge spoke to du Sautoy about different types of creativity, AI helping humans become more creative (instead of replacing them), and the creative fields where artificial intelligence struggles most.