May 31, 2017

Our definition of creativity will change

Our expert voices conversation about computers and creativity.

The more we understand how something was made, the less willing we are to think about it as a creative process. Therefore, almost by definition, we are reluctant to ascribe creativity to the output of a computer program. Of course, creativity is not just in an output (a poem, a song, a building) but is also our evaluation of it as viewers or listeners. Consequently, we are likely to redefine what is really creative away from what computers currently do (just as we are no longer impressed by computers who can beat us in chess).

As we get computers to produce more interesting results, what we need to ask is this: Will we allow ourselves to see beauty in a computer-generated image? Can we engage with a story even if we know it was created by a computer? As an artist, I am interested in new ways of composing music with the assistance of a creative machine; in the strange and wonderful encounters that might happen when a system has enough knowledge of the complex set of behaviors we call music.

Bottom line: The interesting question is not one of definitions; it is about how we will make this technology work for us.

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