World Thinkers’ Ideas – Creative Machines

Robots are machines that are programmed to perform tasks. Can a robot be creative? And how can you use robots as inspiration for new insights.

Driven by a desire to build a scientist smarter than himself, Jürgen Schmidhuber decided to become an artificial intelligence expert.  He believes that our dominated place as creativity experts may end around 2040 when Omega, or Singularity, will mean the end of our dominated position.

What is this idea based on?

Predicting the future is tricky, and although science fiction can provide great inspiration, few things can be predicted confidently. But that there will be computers faster than the human brain may be one of those predictions. Jürgen Schmidhuber may sound too optimistic when he says that computers will also be able to solve problems faster than humans can. However, at the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA research into artificial neural networks and reinforcement learning means that the day when machines are faster than us is creeping closer.

Can you read French, Arabic or Chinese handwriting?

Machines can and the fascinating thing is that it is not  a program. Instead, the machine has learnt from extracting regularities and making generalisations from data.

The step to being creative may look enormous. However, the project Formal Theory of Fun and Creativity may prove that it is possible. A theory has been developed that explains in a formal way science, art, music, and humour. Building curious and creative agents that never stop generating new ideas may be a work in progress, but when computer have the power of human brains, the explosion in ideas is a reality. He says, curiosity is the desire to create or discover more non-random, non-arbitrary, regular data that is novel and surprising.

Does the idea sound scary? Jürgen Schmidhuber does not think in terms humans versus robots. He believes that we are stepping stones leading towards more complexity and we should be happy with our role.

Seeing an idea in the light of another idea can provide new insights. Lee Smolin says in the book What is your Dangerous Idea: “Seeing Einstein in the light of Darwin suggests that natural selection could act not only on living things but on the properties defining various species of elementary particles.”

Seeing the solution to problem with Internet Trolls in the light of a Machine Troll may provide some ideas that can be used as a solution to the problem with Internet trolls.Writing the code that the machine will use is a way to gain insights into human minds. What do you need to include in a code to make sure that the machine acts like a human Internet troll?

Photo:Robots In Bright Colours by Victor Habbick

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