Can a Computer be Creative?

Outside of the strange swirling nether of the internet, I have a life. I’m a graduate student studying computer science, and my project deals with building an artificial game master for real-time games.

This opens up a great deal of questions. If Game Mastering requires creativity, then how can you ever expect a computer to be able to do it? I’d simply like to deflect that question to you, the reader.

Do you believe that a computer could ever be ‘creative’? What does it have to do before it can be considered so?

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8 thoughts on “Can a Computer be Creative?

  1. Hoo boy. Out of all the questions that could be asked about artificial intelligence, you pick one that has caused some of the greatest controversy of the entire field. Well, to put it simply, we don’t know. Oh sure, we have ideas on what we could do. We have people working on the problem, people arguing about the problem, people contemplating what creativity is, and so on and so forth. However, there are still many who disagree on what a creative AI would do, or how creativity should be defined, or even on what field would need the most creativity. It’s a problem that is interesting, and I look forward to work done towards its completion. Yet, it’s one that has no tacked down and definitive answer yet. Sorry if that is lackluster, and a bit disappointing. That’s how most things go in the field. We have many questions, and many more hypotheses.

    • Yup. That’s the feeling I’m getting so far myself. There’s no common consensus on anything relating to AI and creativity. But what are your thoughts? What would it take for you personally to say, “That was creative?”

      • Well, I’m not really sure. I’ve never really thought much about creativity when it comes to AI. Programming is something that only works with strict rules to govern its flow. Even when programming uses fuzzy mechanics, it’s hard coded to create the concept of fuzzy. To me, computation is a definitive and strict science.
        Now, this could be because of physical limitations. All CPU activity deals with binary switches. However, GPU processing deals with vector computation. This allows for more creative and varied use.
        In short, I’m not entirely sure on creative computers, as I’m used to dealing with computers as concise. However, I do not doubt their possibility. As to when I’d agree that the computer is being creative, I would have to take it case by case.

  2. I find it hard to believe that a computer could ever develop something new on a unit scale, they need the individual parts to be given them. However, I have played many strategy games against computers and found that they can do things that are considered original when they put the parts together.

    If by creativity, you mean for the computer to make something new, they certainly can, on a large scale, though their innovations will be limited to combining existing ideas.

    If by creativity, you mean for the computer to make something new and valuable, that can be done, too, at least in strategy, but in things like art I’d bet it’s hit and miss.

    But if by creativity you mean for the computer to invent something completely new without drawing on existing ideas, I just don’t see it happening.

    • That’s an interesting distinction. The systems I’ve seen that can “create” actual results tend to be lacking on the novel side. The systems that are capable of true novelty tend to not be able to create anything real (theoretical frameworks). Though, I’d be hard-pressed to find a human who could invent something completely new without drawing on existing ideas 🙂

      • Very true, so a computer could be considered creative for putting things together, for sure.

        However, I do believe there is a difference between drawing on an existing idea to make something new and using existing things in different combinations. For example, arranging transistors to make a novel circuit design is a different kind of innovation than inventing the transistor. I am more willing to believe computers can achieve the former.

      • I totally agree. I’m not ruling out the possibility of the latter entirely , but it certainly doesn’t seem to be the kind of thing that we’ll see anytime soon.

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