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From Artificial Intelligence to Artificial Creativity

  • The original Artificial Intelligence program envisioned machines capable of answering questions as well as human experts.
  • The World-Wide Web and search engines have solved that problem. You can find the solution to a problem simply by browsing the web: chances are that you will find a page that gives you the solution. In other words, you don't need to "think" anymore. You just "search". A search yields the same result that intelligent machines were supposed to deliver (simulating human expertise). The "intelligence" lies in the billions of pages that millions of people have created about all sorts of specialized knowledge. Sheer quantity has achieved what "machine intelligence" failed to achieve.
  • We can indeed build "intelligent" machines, i.e. machines that perform as well as humans; but critics question whether these machines (or networks of machines) are also conscious of being intelligent. Consciousness has become the new "litmus test" of "artificial intelligence": yes you can build a better chess player than the world champion, but does it know that it is playing chess?
  • Whether the network (or the machine) has become conscious we will never know for sure (i am not even sure that you are conscious like i am) but we will have to assume that they are conscious like us if they behave completely like us (just like i assume that you are conscious like me because you behave like me).
  • The same stance, however, should lead us to grant animals a degree of consciousness: they too suffer, they too are afraid of dying, they too have "emotions". Not even consciousness is uniquely human. A machine that is both "intelligent" and "conscious" like a human being is still not necessarily "human".
  • There is still a fundamental difference between a human being (no matter how stupid) and a machine (no matter how intelligent). The machine cannot answer the simple question: "who will be the next president of the USA?" The dumbest human being can formulate an opinion in a few seconds and justify it. It is, of course, wildly inaccurate, but "accuracy" is not what defines human intelligence. Human beings can formulate an opinion even without having the competence and the skills to do so.
  • What has created the exponential gap between the human species and all other species is a vastly higher degree of creativity. Some animals (or even all animals) may be intelligent and to some degree conscious. However, none even comes close to the kind of creativity that humans have displayed over the centuries.
  • Creativity is the truly unique feature of Homo Sapiens Sapiens. It's not intelligence (even a thermostat can be said to be intelligent) and it is not consciousness (probably most primates and maybe mammals have some kind of consciousness), two "things" which incidentally are also very difficult to define and to study: it is creativity that makes the difference, and creativity is even easier to measure and study.
  • Therefore Artificial Intelligence will eventually need to move beyond consciousness and focus on creativity.