Creativity is Information Creation. Evolution’s ever-increasing emergent complexity is simply Mother Nature creating complex information by “integrating stuff” as she goes along. In a similar vein this is exactly what the brain does in order to produce an emergent conscious mind.
The brain compresses and integrates data, and the resultant emergent mind becomes our own internal map of the external world. This internal map is, of course, not the territory; but as we build better and better maps, we can get closer and closer to a logical and intuitive understanding of what the territory is really like.
There is of course a difference between logical understanding and intuitive understanding. We can think of logic as understanding patterns of cause and effect, but intuition is a less tangible awareness of patterns of integration and emergence. Intuition is essentially the sense of patterns of information that are hidden in the territory.
There is much talk recently about artificial intuition, and the possibility of machine intelligence overcoming human intelligence. But human intelligence is more than just logic and deep pattern recognition.
Intuition drives Imagination. And deep intuition offers not only the potential to see hidden patterns of information, but also to imagine the unseen. So we humans are capable not only of seeing complex patterns of information, but also being able to create them. So this begs the question “will machines ever learn to become creative?”…
In the simplest possible terms, anything that an conscious entity can sense from the external world becomes data for its our own internal model.
Consciousness, at its most basic level is really just the ability to process this data. And in order to extract complex information from the available data, it is necessary to compress out the redundancy and integrate what is left.
Intuition is the subconscious process of integration; a subconscious process of figuring out how things fit together. But in the process of trying to figure out how things do actually fit together, it can end up occurring to more advanced conscious entities about “how things could fit together”…
Thinking + Feeling
It is in the integration of information that “thoughts” begin to emerge. Thinking is simply the process of focusing on these thoughts. When we focus on our own internal thoughts they effectively become our own “internal data”, and as such they are subject to the brain’s sorting process of separation and integration. But how do we evaluate this internal data since there is no external feedback.
Over millions of years, evolution has developed an internal feedback mechanism to evaluate internal data. Feelings are the feedback mechanism for thoughts. Feelings are our internal mechanism for evaluating the value of thoughts.
The Creative Process
Our society has long placed great value on deep linear thinking supported by reason, and has reserved merely artistic homage for deep nonlinear thinking, supported by intuition.
Artists however, have long employed intuition in the creative process. Intuition and feelings are the internal feedback mechanism for human creativity. Feelings identify the value of creative integration; and true artists will always use this emotional feedback, this emotional intelligence, in the creative process.
Creative Innovation + Exploration
So true creativity requires feelings and emotion, but creativity comes in many different forms. We know that in virtually every endeavour practice makes perfect, and with practice we can make ourselves (or a machine for that matter) into an expert — but being an expert is not what it means to be human.
Most people who are experts are in fact domain specific experts; but creativity finds it hard to breath in a domain specific environment. When it come to innovation, creativity is almost always the result of the cross pollination of ideas, and consequently often the really big ideas will breed best in the mind of a polymath.
Creative innovation requires being able to sense connectivity across seemingly unconnected domains, being able to sense that maybe there are certain so-called “rules” which might in fact be holding us back. To be creative we need to be willing to break the rules and move away from obvious patterns — for this is where imagination and creative exploration thrives.
It is commonly believed that the only thing holding Artificial Intelligence (AI) back up until now, was the ability to process data, and the diversity of that data (i.e. the computer equivalent of processing 10,000 hours of feedback). So with the arrival of cloud computing and big data, does this mean that machines are about to take over?
Well no, probably not!… In order to build true Generalized AI (GAI) we will find that we have to move further and further away from designing rule based systems, to systems that are designed purely by “feedback”.
However on this score human evolution is way ahead of the game. From birth every person on this planet carries a great deal of emotional legacy software that nature has, over time, hard-coded into our very DNA structure. And this hard-coded information, this complex information repository, is effectively equivalent to many trillions of hours of practice…
We know that deep intuition is simply the compression and integration of a diversity of data. In a similar vein, we know that creativity is simply the compression and integration of a diversity of thought. In Nature being forced to develop intuition about a nonlinear world has naturally led to the potential for great nonlinear creativity.
However now that machines are just beginning to venture down the road of artificial intuition to solve some of our most complex problems, it is worth noting there is more to being human than problem solving (even with deep intuition).
To be human is to be creative, and it is probably safe to say that machines have a long way to go before they can combine deep intuition with deep feeling in order to achieve “Deep Creativity”…