Saturday, 16 October 2010
can robots sing the blues?
This is an image from 3rd April, 2010 in the New Scientist. The article was called 'The nuts and bolts of creativity'. It's an image created by a robot, programmed to approximate the wrist flexes, pressure etc, of an artist drawing a face.
This has had me foxed for a long time. What does it say about how people view the idea of 'creativity'? Creativity equals skill-with-the hand-and-eye - if you copy how the fingers move, the robot is apparently being creative. But what's creative about robotic implementation of an algorithm?
The idea that creativity equals manual dexterity seems to be quite widespread, perhaps particularly amongst people who think they can't draw. What seems to be missed is the fact that a person drawing is trying to say something about how they experience the world. What looks like cleverness isn't necessarily perceived as such by the person doing it at all. They're off on their own trip, trying to do something that makes sense to them internally, privately, existentially. And, at the moment, a robot can't do this, right? A robot isn't trying to make meaning of their experience, their consciousness. Is it? Lord help us....