ATG Book of the Week: The Creativity Code: Art and Innovation in the Age of AI

by | Oct 15, 2020 | 0 comments

Title: The Creativity Code: Art and Innovation in the Age of AI
Author: Marcus Du Sautoy
Hardcover: ISBN: 978-067498813, $30
Imprint: Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2019

The award-winning author of The Music of the Primes explores the future of creativity and how machine learning will disrupt, enrich, and transform our understanding of what it means to be human.

Can a well-programmed machine do anything a human can―only better? Complex algorithms are choosing our music, picking our partners, and driving our investments. They can navigate more data than a doctor or lawyer and act with greater precision. For many years we’ve taken solace in the notion that they can’t create. But now that algorithms can learn and adapt, does the future of creativity belong to machines, too?

It is hard to imagine a better guide to the bewildering world of artificial intelligence than Marcus du Sautoy, a celebrated Oxford mathematician whose work on symmetry in the ninth dimension has taken him to the vertiginous edge of mathematical understanding. In The Creativity Code he considers what machine learning means for the future of creativity. The Pollockizer can produce drip paintings in the style of Jackson Pollock, Botnik spins off fanciful (if improbable) scenes inspired by J. K. Rowling, and the music-composing algorithm Emmy managed to fool a panel of Bach experts. But do these programs just mimic, or do they have what it takes to create? Du Sautoy argues that to answer this question, we need to understand how the algorithms that drive them work―and this brings him back to his own subject of mathematics, with its puzzles, constraints, and enticing possibilities.

While most recent books on AI focus on the future of work, The Creativity Code moves us to the forefront of creative new technologies and offers a more positive and unexpected vision of our future cohabitation with machines. It challenges us to reconsider what it means to be human―and to crack the creativity code.

Review:

“Argues reassuringly that true creativity belongs to humanity…A computer may best any human at calculation, but it lacks that snippet of ‘human code’ that lets us know when an idea is not just new but meaningful.”New York Times Book Review

“An ambitious meditation on the meaning of creativity and consciousness.”Wall Street Journal

“Fact-packed and funny, questioning what we mean by creative and unsettling the script about what it means to be human, The Creativity Code is a brilliant travel guide to the coming world of AI.”Jeanette Winterson

“In a classic 1950 paper, Alan Turing asked: ‘Can machines think?’ …Du Sautoy’s test is different but no less challenging: can machines be genuinely creative? The interest, just as it was for Turing, lies not so much in finding a definitive answer but in examining what the question itself might mean.”Prospect

“Absorbing…Eloquent and illuminating.”Nature

“Algorithms that not only duplicate human skills but learn from their mistakes are what define artificial intelligence. But du Sautoy considers the possibility of reaching another stage: machine creativity, technology that is itself capable of innovation.”Inside Higher Ed


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