Creativity as an information-based process

Nicola De Pisapia, Clara Rastelli


Abstract: Creativity, mostly ignored in Western philosophy due to its supposed mysteriousness, has recently become a respected research topic in psychology, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. We discuss how in science the approach has mainly been to describe creativity as an information-based process, coherently with a computational view of the human mind started with the cognitive revolution. This view has produced progressively convincing models of creativity, up to current artificial neural network systems, vaguely inspired by biological neural processing, but already competing with human creativity in several fields. These successes suggest that creativity might not be an exclusively human function, but actually a way of functioning of any natural or artificial system implementing the creative process. We conclude by acknowledging that the information-based view of creativity has tremendous explanatory and generative power, but we propose a thought experiment to start discussing how it actually leaves out the experiential side of being creative.

Keywords:  Creative Cognition; Cognitive Neuroscience; Computational Creativity; Generative Algorithms; Cognitive Science


La creatività come processo basato sull’informazione

Riassunto: La creatività, spesso ignorata dalla filosofia occidentale per la sua presunta oscurità, in tempi recenti è diventata un rispettabile oggetto di ricerca per la psicologia, la neuroscienza e l’intelligenza artificiale. Vogliamo illustrare il modo in cui lo sguardo scientifico sia rivolto prevalentemente a considerare la creatività come processo information-based, coerentemente con la prospettiva computazionale sulla mente umana aperta dalla rivoluzione cognitiva. Questa prospettiva ha prodotto modelli della creatività sempre più convincenti, fino agli attuali sistemi di reti neurali artificiali, vagamente inspirati al processamento biologico neurale, ma già competitivi rispetto alla creatività umana in molti ambiti. Questi successi suggeriscono che la creatività possa non essere una funzione esclusivamente umana ma in effetti un modo di funzionare di un sistema naturale o artificiale capace di implementare il processo creativo. In conclusione, pur riconoscendo come il considerare la creatività come processo information-based possieda grande potere esplicativo e generativo, proporremo un esperimento mentale per aprire una discussione sul come questa prospettiva non copra in effetti il lato esperienziale dell’essere creativo.

Parole chiave: Cognizione creativa; Neuroscienza cognitiva; Creatività computazionale; Algoritmi generativi; Scienza cognitiva

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