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Vicki High

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Do you think it will ever be possible to have a computer which is creative?

I guess by 'creative' I mean able to come up with an original idea/concept...we know that modern computers can (in the main) process information faster than we can, etc and that computers can be 'taught' how to play chess to a level where they can beat grand masters but what about originality? Do you think that a computer can be programmed to either 'join the dots' in a way that no human has yet to do or even 'think outside the box' and come up with an original idea???

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  • Dec 6 2013: Not sure what you mean about "join the dots" - computer is logical if nothing else. But the affect of the logic can be very unusual. For example, take a look at Eliza - very crude but every so often the program will ask a very unusual question.
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    Dec 5 2013: Computers are already creative, though not as much as humans are. Give them time.

    A cool thing I feel lucky to expect in my lifetime is the programming of the first computer able to do scientific research on its own, seeking solutions to problems it itself thought interesting.
    And writing better books.
    • Dec 5 2013: There's already one such thing. A computer deciding on new experiments and such. But I lost the reference. Maybe one or two years ago, maybe in nature.
      • Dec 6 2013: It's hard to know without citing the reference but I suspect the "new experiments" still follow basic rules (ie coding) such that it's a bit like a computer playing chess - it may be a 'novel' move but it still clearly follows the instructions it has been given... I'm thinking more of asking about a new experiment in the sense of one which isn't simply a logical follow-on from the data and rules it's been given...
  • Dec 5 2013: Yup.
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    Dec 4 2013: :)))) How could that be? I can't imagine that will happen yet. A computer is invented by humans with softwares and hardwares. It needs input and programs designed by humans, if they can create things, I guess one day there will be a war between computers and humans. :)
  • Dec 3 2013: Hi Nadav - not convinced that it is inevitable or that Moore's law will help - increasing the speed and capacity of computers won't necessarily make the jump to original thought...also re the human brain - I know a lot of people who can make fast calculations and have incredible memories but don't necessarily come up with new ideas. I feel there is a big chasm between following rules and stepping outside the box.
    • Dec 6 2013: Moore's law will give you the processing power required for original thought. The actual original thought bit will of course have to come from somewhere else--a simulation of a human brain, maybe, or something more exotic.

      There is no theoretical reason it shouldn't be possible however. That doesn't make it inevitable, but it means it may occur (in five years if you can get by with a computer that's weaker than the human brain, or perhaps fifty if it takes a while to figure it out, its hard to say).
  • Dec 3 2013: There is no theoretical reason that says it can't happen.

    Moore's law being what it is, computers will eventually get to a point where they have as much processing power as the human brain, and perhaps a lot more, in a matter of decades. Then, it'll just be a matter of figuring out how to make something creative in machine language; hard to say how long that will take.

    If the human brain can do it, there's no reason a machine shouldn't be able to as well, assuming you know how to build it right. The implications are of course staggering, but it can be done.