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computational creativity (artificial creativity)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Computational creativity, (artificial creativity) is the application of computer technologies to emulate, study, stimulate and enhance human creativity.

Computational creativity involves experimentation with the goal of finding innovative ideas and thought processes in fields like art, literature, cuisine, architecture, engineering  and  music. Computational creativity often applies artificial intelligence (AI) to create things that were imagined impossible for computers such as paintings, sculptures and written works of fiction.

While computers are known for mathematical precision and logic, creativity was long thought to be the exclusive domain of conscious beings. Much controversy still exists over the possibility of computational creativity, and many creatives, in particular, are vocally against it. For example, questions start to arise such as “can creativity be hardwired ?, ” “how should computational creativity be evaluated ?, ” or “can a programmed and algorithmic system even be creative?”

While it can be questioned whether computers can be genuinely creative, computational creativity projects often aim to yield works that human observers might assess as creative. Still, the simulation of human-level creativity is seen as a lofty goal.

How Computational Creativity Works

IBM is one company that believes that human-level creativity is possible for computers. The company’s current project applies computational creativity to the development of new culinary recipes. The computational machine starts by downloading related descriptions of different cuisines from sources such as Wikipedia, handbooks, and other databases; in other words, big data has trained its creative computing model on a huge corpus of recipes. The computing model then uses a “novelty algorithm” to combine ingredients that are not normally constructed together based on factors such as flavor pleasantness. A human will enter a starting ingredient as a base for the computational machine to start off with. A human will later choose one of the constructed recipes and make it.

Some computational creative machines will use inductive or deductive reasoning, such as IBM’s Watson or Deep Blue respectively. Other systems may use strategies such as case-based reasoning (CBR) or deep learning.

Creativity is one essential component of artificial general intelligence (AGI), which involves a system that can find solutions to unfamiliar problems.

Computational Creativity Examples

Asides from IBM’s computational creativity machines, other creative machines cover subjects like humor, poetry, music, and visual arts.

Kim Binsted and Graeme Ritchie’s computational creativity machine, JAPE generates a wide variety of puns. Pablo Gervás created a computational creativity machine which uses CBR to create poetic formulations based off of a base of existing poems when given text input. This machine is called ASPERA . David Cope created Experiments in Musical Intelligence (EMI), which analyzes musical compositions and generates new compositions of its own in the same style. One example of computational creativity in visual arts includes Harold Cohen's AARON, which can generate drawings and paintings of human figures. ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com uses a computational creative AI developed by Nvidia to create a novel looking human face, which inspired other websites, such as “This Cat Does Not Exist.”

This was last updated in April 2019

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