In 2013, I wrote a breakthrough article on the nascent examples of computers beginning to generate ideas in a way similar to human creativity. Over the passing years, this ability has grown by leaps and bounds. Here I revisit the article with all-new evidence showing how close we are to artificial creativity.
One of the favorite stories in Science Fiction is of a future where robots are so advanced that they have taken on human characteristics and act as advanced servants. Boston Dynamics currently make the most advanced robot displaying this, able to move freely and interact in many ways with people. But even SciFi have difficulty imagining a world where robots can come up with their own ideas. This world is closer than you may think.
In the not too far future machines and robots will not only become more advanced, they will also begin to exhibit aspects of Creativity, and may soon exceed people in the ability to produce simple creative outputs. However, while I believe robots will be able to imitate a human’s ability for crafting creative work, I don’t believe this is the same as true creativity.
Skeptical? Let’s me outline the technological advances which will lead to the breakthroughs, and then see my predictions of jobs robots will soon steal from creative people:
1. Elementary, my dear Watson (modelling the human mind)
A lot of advances in robot technology have been about making them more independent (able to move in a new space independently, recognising faces and commands etc). The big upcoming leaps come from research into how machines can emulate the human thought process. In recent years, big data and deep learning algorithms, and the ability to spread processing power across thousands of computers in the cloud, is making this process more and more effective. For example, Skype is now able to translate a video chat between two people speaking different languages, in real time.
The EU has already begun investing €1billion into the modelling of the human brain over the next 10 years, which will likely include experiments into modelling thought processes.
Even before that, IBM created a new type of knowledge supercomputer called Watson, which managed to win the Gameshow ‘Jeopardy’. Unlike previous supercomputers used to search for data faster, Jeopardy questions are often ambiguous and rely on cryptic connotations within them, so Watson needed to analyse queries in a more human-like manner to react, and did so very successfully.