A perspective from Artificial Creativity, Developmental AI and Robotics
Domain-general creativity is probably something that is uniquely human. From a child who constructs a new toy using the old and broken ones, to a scientist who works out a theory such as relativity, and makes a profound impact on human civilization, the process invariably evokes the feelings of surprise, astonishment, and wonder. Though we understand what creativity is at an intuitive level, it has turned out to be quite difficult to define it formally and explore it scientifically. Moreover, as different characterizations of creativity are explored, its meaning itself has evolved to incorporate technological advances and changes in the society. For example, in the modern context, creativity in computers and creativity in social networks are hotly debated topics.
Some researchers of creativity make a distinction between H-creativity and P-creativity. H-creativity refers to historical creativity, and P-creativity refers to psychological creativity. In P-creativity we look at the process from an individual point of view, and H-creativity we consider the historical and cultural context.
H-creativity is a subset of P-creativity, and we hypothesize that they share the same basic cognitive mechanisms. Most of the research in psychology and in artificial creativity has been directed towards H-creativity. In Artificial Creativity research, for example, the focus has been on studying creative products within a particular domain (literature, painting, music) and coming up with algorithms that would generate novel and valuable artifacts.
However, if we look at creativity from a developmental point of view, then the focus shifts to P-creativity. In the past research, various aspects of individual creativity have been studied: for example, how to characterize and measure P-creativity, how to stimulate it, and so on.
One more dimension of creativity is whether we look at it from the point of the producer (the artist) or the consumer (the viewer). Most of the existing characterizations of creativity emphasize the producer’s point of view, though some of them incorporate the viewers’ roles to a varying degree. We hypothesize that giving the viewer a central role in creativity leads to much more useful characterization of creativity in many situation.
The goal of this symposium is to explore this framework, and its implications for various aspects of creativity. For example, we hypothesize that creative perception (in viewing an artifact) involves the same mechanisms that are responsible for generating creative artifacts. Moreover, these mechanisms can also be observed during cognitive development: a constant re-conceptualization of one’s understanding of their environment in the process of agent-environment interaction, maturation, and education. If this hypothesis is accepted, then it suggests that by exercising and stimulating creative perception, we can also strengthen the ability to generate creative ideas and artifacts in the individual.
The target audience for this symposium are researchers from Artificial Creativity from one side and Developmental Robotics from the other. Though there have been symposia and conferences for each of these fields, we believe that this is the first time we are proposing a dialogue between these two groups through this symposium.
Stanford University, Stanford, California
March 25–27, 2013