AI and Creativity

What is creativity? Nick Stockton examined the question in an article at Wired about the use of an Artificial Intelligence (really Machine Learning) based collaborator in creativity.  Beyond discussing the nature of creativity from a couple of perspectives it looks at the role of machines as collaborators.

The article takes a broad swipe at creativity:

The broadest definition is any nonlinear solution to a problem. Music is a creative way of making noises that sound pleasant. Language is creative communication. Airplanes are a creative solution to the problem of flight.

Followed by a discussion of the evolution of creativity in humans, but the main focus is on machines collaborating with humans in creative endeavors. This is my fondest hope for an AI-focused future. It is, after all, what I do for a day job is creating software tools that make human creativity easier.

The conclusions in this article parallel the experience of the Beyond the Fence team, that I first wrote about a few months back in AI and the Production Future. Although billed as the first stage musical written by computers it used a series of “algorithms” to help optimize each part of the process.

There is not a single song in this show, not a single moment, that wasn’t at some point inspired by or written by a computer,” said (author) Till. Altogether, computers fully determined the premise and generated 25 percent of the music and lyrics.

The bottom line in that process, as it is in what we seek to do, is to speed up the boring bits, and give more time to the creative process.

Till wrote the first draft of Beyond the Fence in a few weeks, and they finished the entire show in four months. For comparison, he spent over a year just researching and writing the first draft of previous musicals.