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Tech is often a failure
Tech is often a failure – but sometimes, excitingly new. But I think the really exciting, challenging and rarest form of creativity is the third in Boden’s list: transformational creativity. This is the moment when you see a phase change. It is when something new seems to appear from seemingly nowhere that changes our perspective on the world – say, cubism in painting, or the modernist movement in literature. In my own subject of mathematics I would rank the moment that mathematicians created imaginary numbers, like the square root of minus one, as such a moment of transformation. And here is the challenge for a machine. If it is told that the rule that all numbers when you square them are positive, how could it ever break out of the system and discover imaginary numbers? Well, we have to ask ourselves how we broke out of the system. Take the rules of the present system and then break some of them, change them, and see what happens. Most times you will just collapse the system and nothing positive comes out it. But just sometimes, you get something new which doesn’t collapse. I believe this sort of creativity is something that you can get a machine to demonstrate. So should we be nervous of creating code that is starting to do things we didn’t program it to do? We certainly shouldn’t be complacent and it is important that society understands how these new ideas are changing our world. But in the decades to come, this new technology is going to be an amazing tool for extending our own creativity, rather than being a threat. It is like the moment we invented the telescope or the camera. The new tools will allow us to see deeper into our human code and help us to spot things we are currently missing. Too often humans get stuck in ways of thinking. We follow old routines that have worked successfully in the past so we just keep on repeating them. We fall into the trap of behaving more like machines. The psychologist Carl Rogers believes that creativity is all about activating our inner worlds so that we can elevate our own conscious experience of the world. The new AI will be a powerful tool in helping us to do that. The de nitive moment – perhaps a far-fetched one, though I don't see why – will be when AI gets so sophisticated that it begins to develop its own internal world. It is at that point that creative outpourings might ultimately be the gateway to understanding what it might feel like to be a conscious machine J THE CREATIVITY CODE (Fourth Estate, 2019) Marcus du Sautoy is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford 62 / Jaguar Magazine
Jaguar Magazine celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from beautiful design to cutting-edge technology.
In this issue, we explore the art of creativity from the Brazilian masters who devised the graceful art of Capoeira, to the Irish artists mixing new culture with old. You will also discover the creative line that links Victorian wallpaper to the iPhone. While the multi-talented actor and performer, Riz Ahmed, explains why it is the right time to reveal his true self to the world.
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