EC Horizon Article: Creative computation and the What-If Machine

The European Commission's magazine on Europeaon innovation, "Horizon", has published an article on Computational Creativity. You can read the full article here:

But here's a taster:

What if the world suddenly lost all its wealth? It’s an intriguing idea, but rather than being the plot of the latest futuristic thriller, it’s an idea dreamed up by the What-If Machine, an artificial intelligence (AI) system that is learning to do that very human of activities – think creatively.

AI research has become so advanced in the last five years that researchers can think seriously about using it to create new and unexpected ideas.

They hope creative computers could be used to help inspire novelists suffering from writers’ block, to give children ideas which they could write stories about, or even to individualise mass-produced items. However, they are having to stretch the technology to its limits to get there.

'We end up pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence,’ explained Professor Simon Colton, coordinator of the What-If Machine project at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Work like this is laying the foundations of a field that will have a huge impact on our lives in years to come, whether it is in the form of a smartphone app which can help people to think creatively about how to use their time, or as a creativity module that can turn each mass-produced item into an individual, unique design.

‘There is a tremendous fear at the moment about what AI is being used to do, or will be used to do,’ Dr Veale said. ‘Creativity is a wonderful counterbalance to that.’

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