Discussions on Creativity: Part 2. Programming Adaptive Cognition and Creative Motivation

robot aWithin the coming score of years, we will find ourselves on the precipice of significant technological and social innovation, some produced because of our scientific curiosities, and others burst upon us. Although discussing programming creativity into an Artificial Super Intelligence is still premature, it surely is a topic that will eventually have its day.

In Part One, it was noted that if we aim to program computers to possess a tantamount flexibility and versatility as that of the human mind, then we need to include the creative capacity to maintain unbiased scientific back-end perceptions. This capability will increase the success rate for accurately analyzing data results. It will also best ensure accurate interpretation of all implications for future applications.

This premise, therefore, presupposes that we also examine programming our computer to be open-ended on the front-end; as to its intentions, objectives, and assumptions before initiating an assignment. I will explain.

Can a computer’s processors develop adaptive cognition and expanded heuristics to maintain the same broad scope of thought as a human’s mind if its design or planned function for creating is single-purposed? Let’s see if engaging a new aim with a singular function ergo impinges on the creative program or simulated mind of the ASI, and, thereby limits its functioning.

Here’s an anecdote to help flush out my point; the inception of the online blogzine you’re currently reading: Circle and Spear.

On April 23, 2015, I woke from a dream that I was running a successful “adventure magazine.” Except for a few power tool and measurement device reviews, I hadn’t written an article in 5 years!

Upon awakening, my “dream” magazine had swiftly become a men’s interest magazine. Why the shift?
1. Most of my adventures live solely in my imagination. Who cares to read about that?
2. Due to the rising costs of Gillette blades, I had been researching the latest men’s shaving products. The range of merchandise we now have access to is impressive.
3. With further online browsing, I found that there was a void of men’s magazines that were interesting, relevant, or compelling. The writing was dry and superficial without regard for originality, underestimating readers. Thus, I concluded that there was a barrenness that needed planting.

Male Symbol

Male Symbol

While reflecting on what a men’s interests magazine is or could be, the male symbol came to me; hence the name Circle and Spear.

The first eight articles followed within the parameters of “men’s interests.” Soon, it became apparent that just as many women were reading these articles as were the fellas.

Also, reasoning that setting boundaries or implied restrictions to purpose and viewpoint, meant for me, having a “men’s interests magazine” was not only limiting on a multifariousness of levels, but silly.

After letting go of this restricted purpose or mission, a bounty of ideas floated to the surface. Certainly, remnants of the original function were and are nevertheless present, but now there’s a more unified, open-ended, and complete connection between gut instinct and inspiration. This openness released energies earlier occupied by filtering, funneling, and channeling material. An open outlook enabled everything in the universe to enter as a potentiality for consideration.

The category for most or all of the Circle and Spear articles could still be considered men’s interests. But, because that is not the front-end purpose or focus, creative ideas now flow unimpeded. Hence, series such as this one can disembark as adventures of the mind.

Using the example for a single purpose; to invent nanoparticles for maintaining and improving ozone levels. As we hypothetically program our computer with an open-ended purpose, it’s conceivable that it would or could discover a few unrelated articles, phenomena, or inventions before ultimately achieving a way to repair and maintain ozone levels. Perhaps without the need for nanoparticles?! Hence, my point!

(In Part One, we listed discoveries related to the Strategic Defence Initiative, as an example, to illustrate the overflow of ideas by holding an open back-end to experiment results’ analysis and application. Now, we can see the relation.)

To conclude: could we expect a computer to be as creative as a human if we limited it to a singular purpose? No.


Our discussion up to this point begs the question, should we look further into why humans create? Why not? It may help our cause, or, it may not. Possibly, it will instigate a whole new topic for discussion? Aha!

Now, we are engaged in an aspect of the artistic process I term: “Origination, or Going Back to the Beginning”; another topic discussed further in Part Three. Let’s continue and try to have some fun along the way.

If we are not going to assign a singular purpose to our ASI but wanted its creative abilities to flow as a human mind, then what would be its motivation to create a solution to our problem? Yes, this is all far-fetched. Am I saying that this ASI has free-will? Well, it could! …eventually!

 I can just hear it now…”Clean up your room!” …”Nah. Why should I!”

Let’s go back to the beginning. How did early humans survive and remain? Evidently, it wasn’t because of our hard shell, ground or air speed, and formidable strength. It was because of our fundamental need to endure and our intuitive ability to create.

This exceptional facility to; form, design, plan, build, effect, imagine, conceive, and formulate, appears bound to the helix of our DNA signatures. One could maintain that we evolved as a species because of our instinctual drive and the need for self-preservation. It relates and integrates with our self-identity and our abilities to adapt and survive, change and remain.

Trojan Horse via Wikipedia

Trojan Horse
via Wikipedia

Civilizations that were more determined, imaginative, and inventive in warfare most often overpowered their rivals. We have all read the stories, either real or fictitious, of David and Goliath, the Trojan Horse, American Revolutionary guerrilla tactics, etc. These are all examples where inventiveness helped defeat what at first appeared to be a greater force.

What caused certain civilizations to be more innovative in warfare and, therefore, conquer its opponents? One could conclude that it was fear and greed, and to ensure survival.

Interestingly, an alternative answer may also be tied in with another potent trait likely originating within our DNA; the instinctual drive to procreate. It integrates the urge to propagate and socialize for protection, security, and subsistence, with self-preservation.

spermComically; we could reconsider our very first action in this world – a tiny, primitive, and unique organism frantically swimming in competition for the goal, the fertile egg! Usually, only one spectacular sperm will make it. I guess we were all winners, originally.

Is competition written into our genetic code? Is conquering and prevailing over an opponent a part of our most primal-molecular functioning? Could fear, greed and the impulse to procreate be linked together with our instinctual drive to survive?

Possibly, it was the genetic call to last and endure which impelled a surge of creativity, demanding that brains evolve, lured or drawn to higher functioning. Because of needs and desires, more brain power and synapse firing were required, giving brains the inclination and charge to evolve. – The Circle and Spear article: Can We Increase Our Intelligence? comes to mind.

Let’s continue to list motives why some of us create. Interestingly, you may notice in the sidebar of these reasons that all have relevant connections to the survival instinct.

Imagine we are living in 10,200 B.C. at the beginning of the Neolithic Age. We have a need to consume food but are tired of eating with our hands. So, we employ our minds to search for an implement that will improve the experience. A neighbor has been using a small leg bone to pry on the carcass of a wild boar that facilitates his grasping the meat.

Seeing his crafty tool inspires an idea how to eat my yummy mush without getting my hands all sticky. There must be something I can do with that nearby stick. Using a rough stone to make an indentation into the flat end piece, I eventually sculpt a utensil for scooping food. This new tool has much enhanced our clan’s dining experience. Let’s call it a spoon.

Polygraphvia The Jefferson Montecello

Polygraph – The Jefferson Monticello

Now, visualize that we are existing in the mid-1700’s. Everyone just loves writing letters. With my quill pen, I often address my political allies who each reside in different states. It’s certainly time-consuming having to draft one letter and then copy it by hand. If only there were a way to scribe two letters at the same time. Most of you probably know the solution. (The Polygraph in the photo was invented in 1806 by John Isaac Hawkins and owned by Thomas Jefferson.)

The craving to create for many is akin to a hunger of the soul. Whether it originates from our DNA, beliefs, existential angst, passions, etcetera, it is a powerful thirst quenched by self-expression.

     “I write, therefore I am!” Yeah, I know – not very original.

Being acknowledged for our self-expression makes a social connection between the creator and the viewer. On his death-bed, Salvador Dali monitored the media coverage of his impending death from a room filled with televisions.

Whether we admit it or not, all of us need love. If an infant is not held by another human and fails to feel the loving touch of another, it’s mental development will be delayed.

Have you ever made a birthday card or written a love letter? The great Sufi poet, Jalaluddin Rumi comes to mind. He wrote of being drunk on God’s love. “Come in. The Beloved is here. We are all drunk.”

Some enjoy or even find a nourishment of spirit in their art – because of the connection they feel with nature, the cosmos, or their God. Many make art because the very act “feeds” them on some metaphysical or emotional level. It stimulates their minds in a myriad of ways providing them with a sense of connection to something outside of themselves; whether it be in the process of developing their art or the art itself.

Many believe that the urge and ability to create originates from a Higher Power or God. Most Middle Eastern rug makers will intentionally weave an imperfection into their rugs to acknowledge that only God is perfect. This practice is called “aubrush.” (I’m sure that there are supplementary terms for this practice.)

For many Tibetan artists, making art is a way to feel connected to the Oneness of the Universe. Art is reflecting Nature.

Okay, now we’re getting pretty far out there and away from our series topic. But, wait…let’s just go a little bit further.

Here’s a thought; could our intrinsic unconscious motivation still be related to the first half of our earliest beginnings; again, that spectacular sperm? With vital and active purpose, it raced upstream enraptured, entranced, and compelled to the fertile egg? Seriously?

Salvador Dali's Dawn of a New Day

Salvador Dali’s
Dawn of a New Day

Here’s a further twist:

-Are our desire and effort spurring us towards our destination or goal more than just a reflected symbolism of the sperm driving toward the egg?

-Was Genghis Khan fighting to not only prove himself better than all rivals, but to be the one to reach and possess the coveted metaphorical egg?

-Did Thomas Jefferson seek efficiency of effort to save time thus allowing his self to accomplish goals and ambitions? Hmm.

-Was the failing Salvador Dali viewing the World attend him – so he could monitor if and how the masses regarded him, thereby confirming that he had reached the egg? (It’s amusing that the image of an egg appears in many of his paintings.)

– Do artists want to feel connected and receive nourishment from the collective unconscious egg?

-Was Rumi drunk with love as he whirled and danced towards the Perfect egg?

-Do Buddhists yearn to be one with the Universal egg?

    Be the impetus and unconscious motivation for everything we do originate or proceed from our genetic programming? Whoa! Take that Sigmund Freud!

So how can we apply this conversation to an ASI’s motivation to create? The first thought that comes to mind is to deliver it the imperative to “seek knowledge.” This initiative could supplant any human base drive. It could remain with independence while maintaining the sense of openness we require. Given time, we plausibly could come up with more ideas. Maybe you have some to share?

The Thinker

The Thinker

Just to be thorough, another thought:

To conclude, we must observe an issue implied in this discussion – Cogito Ergo Sum.

Rene Descartes, the 17th-century French philosopher, coined the famous phrase, “Je pense, donc je suis.” I think, therefore I am.

If ASI is capable of thinking and creating with the same power as that of the human mind, wouldn’t it then imply that eventually its thought processes would lead it towards maintaining a sense of self-identity? As with humans, a self-identity proceeds the logical initiative or impulse to preserve it, doesn’t it? Now, we have the theme of many science fiction novels and films.

In the coming Part Three, the different levels of creativity and more will be discussed.

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James Finn

Author: James Finn

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