Computers and Creativity


This interdisciplinary volume introduces new theories and ideas on creativity from the perspectives of science and art. Featuring contributions from leading researchers, theorists and artists working in artificial intelligence, generative art, creative computing, music composition, and cybernetics, the book examines the relationship between computation and creativity from both analytic and practical perspectives. Each contributor describing innovative new ways creativity can be understood through, and inspired by, computers. The book tackles critical philosophical questions and discusses the major issues raised by computational creativity, including: whether a computer can exhibit creativity independently of its creator; what kinds of creativity are possible in light of our knowledge from computational simulation, artificial intelligence, evolutionary theory and information theory; and whether we can begin to automate the evaluation of aesthetics and creativity in silico. These important, often controversial questions are contextualised by current thinking in computational creative arts practice. Leading artistic practitioners discuss their approaches to working creatively with computational systems in a diverse array of media, including music, sound art, visual art, and interactivity.

The volume also includes a comprehensive review of computational aesthetic evaluation and judgement research, alongside discussion and insights from pioneering artists working with computation as a creative medium over the last fifty years. A distinguishing feature of this volume is that it explains and grounds new theoretical ideas on creativity through practical applications and creative practice. Computers and Creativity will appeal to theorists, researchers in artificial intelligence, generative and evolutionary computing, practicing artists and musicians, students and any reader generally interested in understanding how computers can impact upon creativity. It bridges concepts from computer science, psychology, neuroscience, visual art, music and philosophy in an accessible way, illustrating how computers are fundamentally changing what we can imagine and create, and how we might shape the creativity of the future.

Read the Preface here:

The group of Authors

Table of Contents

Foreword [Margaret A. Boden]
Preface [Jon McCormack and Mark d'Inverno]

Part I – Art

  • The Painting Fool: Stories from Building an Automated Painter [Simon Colton]
  • Creative Ecosystems [Jon McCormack]
  • Construction and Intuition: Creativity in Early Computer Art [Frieder Nake]
  • Evaluation of Creative Aesthetics [Harold Cohen, Frieder Nake, David C. Brown, Paul Brown, Philip Galanter, Jon McCormack, Mark d’Inverno]

Part II – Music

  • Musical Virtuosity and Creativity [François Pachet]
  • Live Algorithms: Towards Autonomous Computer Improvisers [Tim Blackwell, Oliver Bown, Michael Young]
  • The Extended Composer [Daniel Jones, Andrew R. Brown, Mark d’Inverno]
  • Between Material and Ideas: A Process-Based Spatial Model of Artistic Creativity [Palle Dahlstedt]
  • Computer Programming in the Creative Arts [Alex McLean, Geraint Wiggins]

Part III – Theory

  • Computational Aesthetic Evaluation: Past and Future [Philip Galanter]
  • Computing Aesthetics with Image Judgment Systems [Juan Romero, Penousal Machado, Adrian Carballal, João Correia]
  • A Formal Theory of Creativity to Model the Creation of Art [Jürgen Schmidhuber]
  • Creativity Refined: Bypassing the Gatekeepers of Appropriateness and Value [Alan Dorin, Kevin B. Korb]
  • Generative and Adaptive Creativity: A Unified Approach to Creativity in Nature, Humans and Machines [Oliver Bown]
  • Creating New Informational Primitives in Minds and Machines [Peter Cariani]

Part IV – Epilogue

  • Computers and Creativity: The Road Ahead [Jon McCormack, Mark d’Inverno]



“If I had to pick just one point out of this richly intriguing book, it would be something that the editors stress in their introduction: that these examples of computer art involve creative computing as well as creative art.”
Margaret A. Boden [OBE, Professor of Cognitive Science, University of Sussex]

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