Can Computers Be Creative? (26 October 2015)

What is creativity? Historically, human creativity has been a neglected topic in psychology in general and intelligence testing in particular. Despite this, creativity is considered by most to be an essential component of human intelligence and of thinking.

Consequently, in attempting to answer the question of whether computers can be creative we must first ask if they can think and then it is only natural to ask whether computers can think creatively.

Many feel, in fact, that whereas computers can excel in well-structured areas of problem solving – e.g. logic, algebra, etc. – they have little hope of ever producing truly creative work. For a work to be creative it must be novel and useful – this represents an enormous challenge.

Prof Miller will discuss creativity in general, the nature of thinking and whether computers can think, focussing on whether algorithms can tap into human creativity? After all, is not the mind an information processor akin to a digital computer? Perhaps, like the human mind, computers too can be creative!

Prof. Arthur I Miller

Arthur I Miller is fascinated by the nature of creative thinking – in art on the one hand and science on the other. What are the similarities, what are the differences?

He has published many critically acclaimed books, including Insights of Genius; Einstein, Picasso; Empire of the Stars and 137, and writes for the Guardian and The New York Times.

An experienced broadcaster and lecturer, he has curated exhibitions on art/science and writes engagingly about complex social and intellectual dramas, weaving the personal with the scientific to produce thoroughly-researched works that read like novels.

He is professor emeritus of history and philosophy of science at University College London. His latest book Colliding Worlds: How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art tells the story of how art, science and technology are fusing in the twenty-first century.

He has interviewed leading figures in the world of science-influenced art and spent time and lectured at CERN, the MIT Media Lab, Le Laboratoire, the School of Visual Arts and Ars Electronica; in 2013 he was a juror for the Prix Ars Electronica for Hybrid Art.