Creativity and Computers
Prof. Margaret Boden
Everybody is welcome on the 23th of January 2004. Time : 11 am.
Where: At ESTEC, Noordwijk. Room: Copernicus ( YA 027*)
Marvel, mystery, magic: creativity is widely seen as all of these.It's certainly a marvel. Think of Bach, Shakespeare, Einstein ... and of your own ability to crack jokes, or fix a broken toy. It's also something of a mystery: people mention "intuition", but can't say how it works.But creativity isn't magic. It isn't something that science can't understand. This lecture explains how it's possible for people to produce radically new ideas. -- And not only people: computers, too.
There are three types of creativity. (1) Combinational creativity is the production of (valuable) unfamiliar combinations of familiar ideas. (2) Exploratory creativity depends on an accepted cultural space or style of thinking (from noughts-and-crosses to tonal music, or chemistry). It involves the search for novel structures (previously unvisited points) in thatpossibility-space, and the identification of its potential and limitations. Most professional artists and scientists engage only in exploratory creativity. (3) Transformational creativity involves thinking new thoughts which were previously impossible, with respect to the previous style of thinking. The conceptual space concerned must be transformed, by dropping/altering one or more of its dimensions. Then, new structures can arise which couldn't have arisen before.
Computers can generate novel ideas in all three ways, though they arebest at modelling exploratory creativity. They can also aid human creativity. Moreover, understanding computer-creativity helps us to understand our own.
Margaret A. Boden is Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Sussex.
She was the founding-Dean of Sussex University's School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences, a pioneering centre for research into intelligence and the mechanisms underlying it -- in humans, other animals, or machines. The School's teaching and research involves an unusual combination of the humanities, science, and technology. Philosophy is studied within the School both as an undergraduate major and as a postgraduate (MA and DPhil) subject.
Professor Boden holds the following academic honours, by election:
- Fellow (and former Vice-President) of the British Academy -- and Chairman of their Philosophy Section until July 2002.Member of the Academia Europaea.
Outside Sussex, she has lectured widely, to both specialist and general audiences, in North and South America, Europe, India, the USSR, and the Pacific. She has also appeared on many radio/TV programmes, in UK and elsewhere. Her work has been translated into sixteen foreign languages.
For more information you can visit the official web site of Margaret Boden