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Lovelace on creativity: An addendum

Just been reading through parts of the PhD thesis of Rob Saunders, one of the previous members of the stem cell modelling research group, on "Curious Design Agents and Artificial Creativity". Lots of interesting ideas, which follow on nicely from a talk I recently saw by Alex McLean on mapping creative exploration to geometric spaces (cf Peter Gärdenfors).

The introduction aptly reins back something that I overstated in my recent piece on Jane Prophet: Ada Lovelace's views on computational creativity. She in fact stated that:

“The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do [only] whatever we know how to order it to perform” (emphasis added by Boden, 1990)

As Rob comments, therefore, the credit for the creative products of the machine should remain with its engineer, rather than construing the machine itself as having creativity. His paper goes on to investigate such notions of synthetic creativity. It also brings to the fore Turing's ideas about machines exhibiting "surprising" behaviour courtesy, in the paper that introduces the Turing test, anticipating Cariani's emergence-relative-to-a-model.

Interesting, and relevant after a morning spent encountering some highly surprising behaviour from some swarms driven by Perlin noise (below).


Incidentally, Leafcutter John -- who we are off to see play tonight as part of Polar Bear -- has also been doing some brilliant things with Processing and particle systems. On the "unexpected" tip, check out his awesome moth wings...