Bill Seaman’s Paper Proposal

Computational Creativity: Pointing to the Past ↔ Pointing to the Future – Cybernetic Pattern Flows

Computational Creativity: Pointing to the past ↔ Pointing to the Future – Cybernetic Pattern Flows

1. Computer Science
7. Art, Design, Music, Literature


Approaching Computational Creativity has been an interesting concept since the beginning of computing. Creativity has been seen to be a uniquely human quality historically. For some, creativity and a sense of poetics separated the abilities of human from the functional capacities that the computer enabled. In this sense the question of creativity as it applies to computing is very thorny, in fact many people still question art made by computers. Is the computer creative or is the programmer? What will happen when computers become more and more autonomous? How can computers work productively with artists and designers to achieve things that neither could alone.


This paper will take a survey approach to the history of notions surrounding computational creativity as it relates to cybernetics. It will discuss human creativity providing a definition; explore the modeling of creativity via computation; discuss multiple cybernetic methodologies and how creativity has been approached historically; it will explore creativity in terms of Neosentience research (Seaman and Rössler 2010) an autonomous robotic learning system; and finally the paper will project and discuss the future potentials of creativity as they relate to cybernetics and other contemporary approaches.


The paper will discuss how research into creativity has impacted the history of cybernetics. Where computational creativity was once a glass ceiling, differing approaches have opened up new possibilities especially in terms of robotics and learning systems. Much debate surrounds the Singularity (Kurzweil) yet the paper will discuss how this might impact the future of computation.

Practical implications:

The paper will discuss the development of new forms of computation that empower the exploration of human/computer creativity and how these approaches can be practically applied. Such systems will have huge impact on how many processes that formerly were only approached though human effort, might be enhanced though human/computer symbiosis. If computers can be autonomous, what will their aesthics be? How will they learn about notions of abstraction and historical human values? How will autonomous computers interact with humans in terms of collaborative creative efforts? How will this chance the design industry? Might there be autonomous computer artists?

Social implications:

Computational creativity will have a huge social impact, yet it may be introduced slowly and be non-visible at first. Like other computational and robotic practice, “creative” computers may replace to some degree their human co-workers. Will humans always have their own special qualities when it comes to creativity? What new potentials might computers bring to the table.


Such systems will impact aesthetics and how differing processes in art, design, and industry are approached. How we approach new forms of code authorship, working in the service of creative processes, will take many differing forms. Initially these forms will be highly transparent but as computers take on a greater sense of autonomy in decision-making, great travels into un-navigated waters will open up.

Cybernetic traditions:

  • 1) Computer science; AI; robotics
  • 7) Art; design; music; literature

7 thoughts on “Bill Seaman’s Paper Proposal

  1. Ted Krueger

    This makes me wonder where creativity is. Is creativity in a human creator, and could it be in a machine?
    What does it mean to say that it is within a process?
    When I talk about an act of creation or creativity, it is a realization about the newness of relationships among patterns and is always an observation, sometimes of self. It has less, maybe nothing, to do with the forging of the relationships, but resides in my understanding and regard for what has been made. So the relationships among patterns might be made by human or machine, or from their collaborations. I think that the creativity resides within human understanding and not within the acts or the entities.
    Others might see creativity differently. What one thinks it is will determine where it is.

  2. Ranulph Glanville

    I think that Bateson answered this question of where the reactivity is, in the 1960s, and I did again about 30 years later in a paper written for the issue you edited on Intelligent Architecture, in 1999, Ted.

    Bateson said (this is NOT a quote, it’s a memory) that it makes no sense to ask, where, if there is creativity coming from an artist working with a computer, the creativity is. The creativity is in both together, within the particular context.

    To me this is the only sensible answer. To try to attribute to one or the other is to misunderstand attribution and to forget the contribution of the painter’s brush and canvas, the writer’s pen and paper. I think Lady Lovelace was right to raise the question, but wrong to partition what is a joint activity into a separateness that plays to a meaningless pseudo-superiority!

  3. Ben Sweeting

    Here is the Bateson quote: “Now, let us consider for a moment the question of whether a computer thinks. I would state that it does not. What “thinks” and engages in “trial and error” is the man plus the computer plus the environment. And the lines between man, computer, and environment are purely artificial, fictitious lines. They are lines across the pathways along which information or difference is transmitted. They are not boundaries of the thinking system. What thinks is the total system which engages in trial and error, which is man plus environment.” (Pathologies of Epistemology).

    Pask, writing on artificial intelligence in Negroponte’s Soft Architecture Machines, describes intelligence as “a property that is ascribed by an external observer to a conversation between participants if, and only if, their dialogue manifests understanding”. One thing I like about this is it shifts the sense of whether something is intelligent to whether an interaction is intelligent; this makes me think of the many very unintelligent interactions I have managed to have.


    Pattern flows toward the creation of creation –
    Bill Seaman (August 1, 2014)

    I join a community that teaches me about patterns. This community is social and cultural. It teaches me that there are many kinds of patterns, and aesthetic patterns as one subset have a very long history.

    This learning about patterns is an ongoing process so I call it a pattern flow.

    I learn about metaphors. When I articulate a metaphor I am articulating a relationality between patterns. I use the term pattern openly – patterns of thought / patterns of experience / patterns of articulation / and language patterns framing all of these. I project meaning onto patterns (constructivism). I construct a world of understanding and framed experience out of these diverse pattern flows. I adapt to my environment in an ongoing manner, drawing from what I have learned…

    In an ongoing manner I ‘transfer’ my history of pattern knowledge and apply it in new ways. I infer from Wittgenstein that I can never know fully a pattern in itself, I can only point. I become interested in authoring pointing machines – machines that become a vehicle of my pointing.

    Gregory Bateson in A Sacred Unity / Further Steps to an Ecology of Mind speaks about an active creative filter that interviens in our construction of the world.

    But this is, after all, is the circumstances for all organisms. Between us and “Things as they are” there is always a creative filter. Our organs of sense will admit no thing and report only what makes sense. “We” like the general of a modern army, read only intelligence reports already doctored by agents who partly know what we want to read. And our “outputs” are similarly doctored— the outputs must, forsooth, be harmonious. The “blue guitar,” the creative filter between us and the world is always and inevitably there. This is to be both creature and creator. This the poet knows much better than the biologist. (Bateson 1991, p264)

    Thus, we are creative from the get go.

    In Metaphors we Live by Lakoff and Johnson, they begin with this concept:

    “Metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action.” (Lakoff and Johnson, 1980. p3)

    “The concepts that govern our thought are not just matters of the intellect. They also govern our everyday functioning, down to the most mundane details. Our concepts structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. Our conceptual system thus plays a central role in defining our everyday realities. If we are right in suggesting that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we think, what we experience, and what we do everyday is very much a matter of metaphor.”

    Seaman: A metaphor is a pattern of relation

    Merriam Webster±
    met·a·phor noun \ˈme-tə-ˌfȯr also -fər\
    : a word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar
    : an object, activity, or idea that is used as a symbol of something else

    1525–35; < Latin metaphora < Greek metaphorá a transfer, akin to metaphérein to transfer. See meta-, -phore

    anal·o·gy noun \ə-ˈna-lə-jē\
    : a comparison of two things based on their being alike in some way

    : the act of comparing two things that are alike in some way
    plural anal·o·gies

    Full Definition of ANALOGY

    : inference that if two or more things agree with one another in some respects they will probably agree in others

    a : resemblance in some particulars between things otherwise unlike : similarity
    b : comparison based on such resemblance

    : correspondence between the members of pairs or sets of linguistic forms that serves as a basis for the creation of another form

    : correspondence in function between anatomical parts of different structure and origin — compare homology

    I have conversations with others. I learn the word conversation can also be used metaphorically. The language of aesthetic patterning in image, music and text inspires me, as do the patterns of scientific expression. Also the language of thought — my inner voice – I have conversations with myself.

    I learn that I can have different kinds of “conversations” with patterns, and in particular as an artist /designer with aesthetic patterns.

    I can have a conversation with myself. [its self]
    I can have a conversation with the history of aesthetics.
    I can have a conversation with a physical process.
    I can have a conversation with a tool.
    I can have a conversation about building a new tool.
    I can have a conversation about the potentials of computational systems.
    I can have a conversation about sensing systems.
    I can have a conversation about defining new senses.
    I can have a conversation about computational tools.
    I can seek to have the system become a vehicle of my conversation with others.
    I can define a system that points at patterns.
    I can have a conversation with myself [me] about conversations.
    I can have a conversation about the nature of conversations.
    I can have a conversation about the metaphor of conversation.
    I can abstract the nature of conversation through biomimetics and bioabstraction.
    I can have a conversation about how I learn. [it learns]
    I can have a conversation about creating a system that will converse with me and/or other systems.
    I can have a conversation about creating a system that can converse with itself.
    I can have a conversation about creating a system that converses with itself, as well as converses with me and learns.
    I can have a conversation about systems that learn.
    I can have a conversation about systems that define conversational meta-levels and begin to have a sense of self-understanding.
    I can have a conversation about symbiotic relationships.
    I can have a conversation about machines that become autonomous conversationalists.
    I can loop back to the beginning of this list and substitute the word “I” with “a machine” – this then becomes a set of long term goals…

    Each conversation is a pattern flow.

    We can also point here to Maturana’s concept:

    Third, the analysis of language showed: (a) that language exists in a
    consensual domain generated by the interactions of closed systems
    in the domain of states of each individual system; and (b) that a description
    always implies an interaction of the system that describes.

    Winograd and Flores in Understanding Computers and Cognition:

    Maturana refers to behavior in a consensual domain as "linguistic behavior."
    Indeed, human language is a clear example of a consensual domain and the
    properties of being arbitrary and contextual have at times been taken as its
    defining features. But Maturana extends the term "linguistic" to include any
    mutually generated domain of interactions. Language acts, like any other acts
    of an organism, can be described in the domain of structure and in the domain
    of cognition as well. But their existence as language is in the consensual
    domain generated by mutual interaction. A language exists among a
    community of individuals and is continually regenerated through their
    linguistic activity and the structural coupling generated by that activity.
    (Winograd and Flores, 1986, p.49)

    Pask’s Conversation Theory seems to be centered on embodying some of the above ideas. Might we call this tactic creating an “operative analogy”? Seaman’s Coin.

    His work on Musicolour was an embodied conversation system, that enabled interaction between human and computer – an adaptive time-based physical human/machinic pattern flow as output.

    His exploration of electrochemical processes also enabled patterns of conversation to become embodied.

    Computational Creativity has been defined by the The Association for Computational Creativity as “the study and simulation, by computational means, of behavior, natural and artificial, which would, if observed in humans, be deemed creative.” They have held four conferences to date. Seaman, early on discussed the notion of Re-embodied Intelligence. (Seaman 1998)
    Re-embodied intelligence can be defined as the translation of media elements and/or processes into a symbolic language enabling those elements and processes to become part of an operative computer-mediated system. The ability to "translate" the aesthetic conceptions of an “author” into a form that is operative within a technological environment is fundamental to the creation of interactive (and other forms emphasis the author) artworks. We will consider "intelligence" as referring to activities we have in the past considered intelligent, like "playing chess say or recognizing visual images." (Aleksander, I. and Burnett, P. 1987) In the creation of artworks the artist employs modes of thinking that might be considered illogical, nonsensical, intuitive, metaphorical, non-linear etc. The intelligence embodied in an individual's art practice, functions in the service of their poetics.
    Yet, this points to the thorniness of creativity. It is not so easy to model the elusive qualities inherent to creative thinking and to aesthetic processes [like composing music] although this can be a goal. Seaman’s paper – Nonsense Logic (1998) suggests:

    There is a poignant irony to the fact that the computer, a mechanism entirely predicated on
    symbolic logic, can be used to explore non-sense as well as illogical and elusive resonant artistic
    content. A work of art can be seen as an organism like vehicle of content that is both generated
    and experienced through interaction.
    Glanville lends this thought related tot The Value of being Unmanageable:
    Variety and Creativity in CyberSpace…

    Others write about the physical and the practical. I am interested in the ephemeral, writing ephemerally, dreaming, but with what I hope is a certain aphoristic precision. I am concerned with architecture IN the computer, as evidenced by our creativity. I see this as an approach by adopting which I can develop ideas: a way of considering.

    Glanville, R. The Value of being Unmanageable: Variety and Creativity in CyberSpace (accessed 20 July, 2014)

    Self-organization can be simultaneously emergent such that the ‘control’ within a system is empowering in terms of generative potential and/or poetic in Pask’s case. This is an inversion of control [the system can be explored as a way of considering] especially when the system is self-organizing. This creates a somewhat paradoxical state that embodies both control parameters, and open interaction that approaches the infinite in nature. Seaman’s The World Generator / The Engine of Desire (Seaman year) is one example and The Insight Engine (Seaman year) is another.

    Such works enables aesthetic and/or informational conversations, and potentially meta-meaning conversations. Seaman Recombinant Poetics book talks at length abut the computer functioning as a vehicle of a new ‘expanded’ linguistics through “consensual” domains (Matutana). This is a functioning “pointing” machine — one that points at meaning as it arises and changes through dynamic interaction. Pask was already on to this in the 60’s. in his work Musicolour.
    Continuing along this “expanded” linguistic line, in his introduction to The Cybernetics of Human Learning and Performance Pask provides this interesting articulation:

    In dealing with systems of any kind, cybernetics is primarily concerned with establishing isomorphism (one to one correspondences) rather than the validation of propositions that are true (or have a chance of being true) or else are false. The basic mode of argument and development involves analogy, strict analogies in which isomorphism is a special case. The analogy expressed or represented in the language employed to account for events is a metaphor. In this sense; Cybernetics is the science or the art of manipulating defensible metaphors; showing how they may be constructed and what can be inferred as a result of their existence. (Pask 1975, p13)

    When I seek to define a system that augments my creativity or becomes a vehicle of it, I often seek to model my own creative processes and then make them operative via a computational system. I call this Re-embodied intelligence (as mentioned above). This might also be an example of an operative-analogy.

    When I make a work of art, historically I become one with the tool set I am employing (pencil, pen, paint, video system) and now computer (e.g. photoshop, and now the authorship of code (in “conversation” with a programmer and or programmers). I seek out the parameters of the expressive language of particular technologies and potentially push them, through experimentation to new places. When I make a generative work of art, the system defines an output that is emergent in nature, potentially informed by my sense of aesthetics that have been re-embodied in the system. When I make an interactive work there may be some level of interauthorship (Seaman’s coin) between the user of the system, myself and my sense of aesthetics re-embodied in the system, and the system. In the long run I can imagine an autonomous learning system that defines for itself a sense of aesthetics. I can imagine collaborating with such a system. My thinking is extended into the tools and systems I author.

    Ascott was thinking about some of these ideas early on:
    In his paper entitled Behaviourist Art and the Cybernetic Vision published in 1966, Ascott articulated the following vision:

    Behaviourist Art constitutes, as we have seen, a retroactive process of human
    involvement, in which the artefact functions as both matrix and catalyst. As
    matrix, it is the substance between two sets of behaviours; it neither exists for
    itself nor by itself. As a catalyst, it triggers changes in the spectator's total
    behaviour. Its structure must be adaptive implicitly or physically, to accomodate
    the spectator's responses, in order that the creative evolution of form and idea
    may take place. The basic principle is feedback. The system Artefact/Observer
    furnishes its own controlling energy; a function of an output variable (observer
    response) is to act as an input variable, which introduces more variety into the
    system and leads to more variety in the output (observer's experience). This rich
    interplay derives from what is a self-organising in which there are two controlling
    factors; one, the spectator is a self-organising subsystem; the other, the artwork
    is not usually at present homeostatic.

    Ascott goes on to say:

    There is no prior reason why the artefact should not be a self-organizing system;
    an organism, as it were, which derives its initial program or code from the
    artists creative activity, and then evolves in specific artistic identity and function in
    response to the environment which it encounters. (Ascott, 1966, p. 11)

    Yet how do we get to the point to be able to author such a system…

    Gordon Pask in Micro Man states:

    The part of our mind that synthesizes must be aware of the content of thesis and antithesis; it resolves a conflict between two personalities in the brain, one upholding the thesis and the other antithesis…Many theorists would agree that many of our thought processes can be described in this way, although this means taking the dialectical model somewhat further than many orthodox philosophers would wish. Unfortunately such a model does not clarify the question of how we actually reach synthesis. Is it always by logical deduction? One could argue that juxtaposing an improbable thesis and antithesis sometimes leads to creative synthesis. As an exercise in dialectical reasoning we might bring together such diametrically opposed models of creative thought processes as Edward de Bono’s ‘lateral thinking’ and Arthur Koestler’s ‘association of ideas’, one the thesis the other the antithesis. And we might find that creativity is less far removed from logical thought than we sometime suppose. If this is the case, it might one day be possible to make computers behave in ways that appear to be, or indeed are, creative. (Pask and Curran 1982, p71)

    Although posing creativity as a synthesis, Seaman would suggest that it is a synthesis of a n-dimension set of associations that become enfolded. In a later chapter in MicroMan entitled Metamorphosis of Machines and Man Pask states:

    We can implement a version of a multi-dimensional world view as a model in a computer, using complex manipulations which some would claim to encompass both thought and consciousness. It would entail what Douglas Hofstadter (in Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid) calls a ‘vortex’ of computer programs, each acting simultaneously on the others lower in a hierarchy during their execution. (Pask and Curran 1982, p210)

    He goes on to propose a holistic thought model that assumes that:

    several foci of attention coexist, each with its own autonomous and potentially independent clock and counter. Each focus embodies one loop like organization, and each is a possible world of action, or a person, or an institution. The coordination of the clocks and counter, if it occurs, occurs by virtue of the whole process rather than according to predetermined rules. A system modeled in this way is truly self-organizing. It is this co-ordination of potentially independent units (the absence of a common controller [p 74]) which is consciousness, a property of the whole and not the parts. The degree of consciousness is determined by the degree of co-ordination. The contents of consciousness are loop-like organizations shared between different foci…Throughout this book our stance has been that mental activities are primarily inventive or creative— learning entails discovery, action involves imagination, analogizing and venturing into the unknown. In principle we believe that individuals could converse creatively through the medium of a population of computers, a system that allows for both conflict and conflict resolution (thesis—antithesis, then synthesis, emphasis the author). (Pask and Curran, 1982, p 210-211)

    Here we also bring in the enculturation of a computer. Turing spoke of input and output organs. (Turing 1986, p.36 & p.108) suggesting the beginning of the embodied/embedded school of computing.

    So these are some of my beginnings.

    There are multiple stages or “readings” for unpacking notions surrounding computational creativity:

    1) the creation/authorship of computational systems as a tool for creativity
    2) the authorship of systems that enable conversations and generative construction capabilities – (inter-authorship) {The World Generator / The Engine of Desire) – Seaman
    3) the authorship of systems that enable a high-level of human/computer symbiosis, where the computer augments intelligence (see Linklider)
    4) generative systems that embody an aesthetic sensibility and generate works with an emergent outcome
    6) the authorship of a iterative learning system that contributes to transdisciplinary research [Insight engine] Seaman
    5) the authorship of learning systems that enable a computer to define its own sense of aesthetics
    6) the authorship by humans of code-driven machines that function autonomously and display a degree of creativity in a bio-mimetic and/or bio-abstracted manner – The creation of creation. [see– Kurzweil]
    7) the authorship by machines of other code driven machines that display machinic creativity, and perhaps explore their own creation of creation and new sense of aesthetics.

    Ray Kurzweil in How to Create A Mind – The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, presents some ideas on human creativity and the potentials of robotic creativity. He points to “…metaphors—symbols that represent something else”, which quietly point to Pask’s ideas from 42 years ago

    Kurzweil states:
    The neocortex is a great metaphor machine which accounts for why we are a uniquely creative species. Every one of the 300 million pattern recognizers in our neocortex is recognizing and defining a pattern and giving it a name, which in the case of the noecortal pattern recognition module is simply the axon emerging from the pattern recognizer that will fire when that pattern is fired. That symbol then becomes part of another pattern. Each one of these patterns is essentially a metaphor. The recognizer can fire up to 100 times a second, so we have the potential of recognizing up to 30 billion metaphors a second. Of course not every module is firing in every cycle-but it is fair to say that we are indeed recognizing millions of metaphors a second. (Kurzweil, 2012, p113)

    One of the most illuminating works on the subject to dat is the book Computers and Creativity edited by McCormack and D’Inverno. It includes a number of exciting approaches to the field including a text by Schmidhuber — A Formal Theory of Creativity to Model the Creation of Art. (McCormack and d’Inverno 2011) which can also be found online (Schmidhuber 1990-2010c). Additionally an excellent synopsis by Schmidhuber’s of his concepts can be found online — Formal Theory of Fun & Creativity Explains Science, Art, Music, Humor (Schmidhuber 1990-2010b). This text gives a one page briefing on his ideas with additional links. In Computers and Creativity a number of ideas are explored in particular from the perspective of Artificial Life systems.

    When we apply this approach to creativity and aesthetics, we begin to get a sense of how computers can both augment and in the long run become autonomously creative. In the spirit of von Foerester’s proclivity for poly-semic titles, could we have a a creation of creation? How could we author code such that a machine might have its own autonomous sense of creativity? Could this eventuate in a computational system that authors its own creative code and defines its own sense of aesthetics? Like the mind/brain we need to articulate new approaches [dare I say creative] to modes of computation to explore such elusive terrain. Yet the field of “Learning Systems” (some say this term has replaced Artificial Intelligence) and “Artificial General Intelligence” are two exciting growing fields. Jürgen Schmidhuber is one individual exploring machine learning, artificial general intelligence, neural networks, digital physics and art. He began discussing creativity in 1990 and is perhaps most articulate in his text Formal Theory of Creativity & Fun & Intrinsic Motivation (1990-2010). He states:

    The simple but general formal theory of fun & intrinsic motivation & creativity (1990-) is based on the concept of maximizing intrinsic reward for the active creation or discovery of novel, suprising patterns allowing for improved prediction or data compression. It generalizes the traditional field of active learning, and is related to old but less formal ideas in aeshthetics theory and developmental psychology. (Schmidhuber 1990-2010, p1)

    He goes on to say:

    Relative to some subjective observer, a pattern is temporarily novel or interesting or surprising if the observer initially did not know the regularity but is able to learn it…Since 1990, agents were built that implement this idea. (Schmidhuber 1990-2010, p1)

    Schmidhuber gives 4 crucial ingredients which are in short 1) an adaptive world model; 2) a learning algorithm that continually improves the model; 3) intrinsic rewards measuring the model’s improvements (thus measuring the degree of subjective surprise or fun); 4) A separate reward optimizer or reinforcement learner which translates those rewards into action sequences or behaviors expected to optimize future reward. (Schmidhuber 1990-2010, p1). This is a fascinating approach yet the human approach to creativity might be to generate a pattern that is so novel that it perplexes its consensual community (with intention) i.e. Duchamp's readymade was tossed out of the Society of Independent Artists show with his readymade.

    Peter Cariani (also giving a paper at this conference), in his paper Creating New Informational Primitives in Minds and Machines (found in Computers and Creativity) explores in part some new approaches to Computational Creativity:

    Three basic strategies for using artificial devices to create new meanings and
    purposes present themselves:
    1. via new human-machine interactions (mixed human-machine systems in which
    machines provoke novel insights in humans who then provide new interpretations
    for machine symbols),
    2. via new sensors and effectors on an external world (epistemically-autonomous
    evolutionary robots that create their own external semantics), and
    3. via evolving internal analog dynamics (adaptive self-organisation in mixed analog/digital
    devices or biological brains in which new internal linkages are created between
    internal analog representations that are coupled to the external world and
    goal-directed internal decision states). (Cariani 2011, p397)

    Thus the mangle begins… (see Andrew Pickering – the Mangle of Practice)

    In terms of approaching Patter Flows in new ways consider this list from Seaman and Rösslers book Neosentience:
    Pattern of patterns/meta patterns
    Pattern topologies
    Pattern sensing
    Pattern orientation
    Pattern comparison
    Pattern abstraction
    Pattern imagination
    Pattern recombination
    Pattern generation (fragment collages)
    Pattern gestalts
    Pattern projection (intermingling with environment)
    Pattern confluence
    Pattern transference (technological production)
    Pattern implementation
    Pattern re-orientation (categorization)
    Pattern strings
    Pattern fields
    Pattern actions (spatial/conceptual/relational)
    Pattern navigation
    Pattern recognition
    Pattern truncation
    Pattern abbreviation
    Pattern inversion
    Pattern mistreatment
    Pattern realignment
    Pattern surgery

    Seaman and Rössler continue:
    Pattern topologies is a new branch of mathematics of which only so far Poincaré’s topology
    and DalCin’s tolerance automata exist.
    Force field topology is a special case

    Linguistic patterns have their own topologies
    Electrochemical topologies represent thought
    All topologies are thought topologies
    All marriages are mixed marriages
    Gödel – Numbers and operations on numbers happen in the same space.
    Turing – code and operations on code happen in the same space.
    Seaman – thought and operations on thought happen in the same space.

    Bibliography +

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    Beer, S., SAM in Reichardt, J. (1968), Cybernetic Serendipity, Praeger, London England
    Maturana, H (1978) The Biology of Language: The Epistomology of Reality (1978) p11
    Cariani, P. (2011) Creating New Informational Primitives in Minds and Machines, in Computers and Creativity, in McCormack, J. and d’Inverno, M.(2011) Computers and Creativity, Springer, NY
    Kaehr, R. Morphogrammatics and Computational Reflection — Applying insights from the retro-grade recursivity concept of morphogrammatics to questions of reflectionality and interactionality of programming, (date not set) (accessed 14 July, 2014)
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  5. Peter Cariani

    Hi, Bill,

    I’m lamenting that this paper is opposite our session (and the two sessions seem to be in different buildings altogether).

    Re: Lady Loveless (Ranulph Glanville’s remark above), the computer-human combination can certainly be creative, but her remark was about the machine itself, that it could only do what it was programmed to do. Nobody denies that the human-machine combination is creative, but many (mostly computer scientists) take the position that the computer by itself is creative. We humans (and animals) are qualitatively different from computers (in the 1936 Turing-Hilbert sense of formal systems, deterministic finite state automata) in terms of our capacity to autonomously construct new concepts.

    I think we need to define clearly what we mean by creativity. For me, creativity involves the generation of novelty. What we perceive as “novel” has to do with our expectations, our perspective, such that to call something novel (the product of a creative process) requires an interpretive frame, an explicit set of expectations, an observer’s model of what is possible, what will occur. One cannot leave the observer out of the definition of creativity or novelty.

    In my doctoral work, long ago at this point, I developed a whole emergence-relative-to-a-model framework for recognizing emergent events vis-a-vis a set of observer expectations.

    It’s possible to distinguish between several types of creativity:
    1) incremental adjustments (incremntally changing parameters without altering forms, e.g. incrementally changing the color pallette of a painting)
    2) combinatoric creativity (recombining existing primitives in new ways — the combinations are new but the framework is not changed)
    3) emergent creativity (creating new primitives, changing the framework such that the observer needs new observables/concepts to interpret the changed system).

    Cariani, P. (2012). Creating new primitives in minds and machines. In J. McCormack & M. D’Inverno (Eds.), Computers and Creativity (pp. 395-430). New York: Springer.

    Computers are combinatoric creators — they can generate new combinations of primitives that they have been given, but they are incapable of creating their own primitives. Virtually all of our trainable, adaptive machines are of this sort. and what they do is generate and test new combinations.

    I do believe that devices that create their own primitives are possible (we ourselves do it, so there is an eixistence proof; Pask’s device being a rudimentary artificial example), but non-computational, ill-defined realms andl processes are required — you cannot produce radical novelty if you completely specify and control what the device will do — it needs to have structural and informational autonomy (vis-a-vis us) and contingent (sensory) interactions with the world in order to surprise with radically unexpected new functions and behaviors.

    Not clear to me that creative systems need be purposive, with embedded internal goals and evaluations and adjusement mechanisms), but it sure does help.



    Thanks Peter, I was also sorry to see that we are scheduled at the same time (maybe sessions could be video taped [or audio] and made available to other sessions on-line – or we can do it for ourselves…) — and I also miss Ted…

    I think you and I are very much on the same page. I look forward to talking to you about how to define a learning system (somewhat like ourselves) that builds up “an understanding” of creativity and its potentials – using multi-modal sensing systems + new sensing systems + social and cultural “concepts”. Defining a computer with a sense of self-understanding seems like a very interesting long term goal.

    I often use the Lovelace quote — it is quite interesting but is brought about in a machine that has no self-awareness — I think we are talking about a new variety of machine…:

    The Analytical Engine is an embodying of the science of operations, constructed with
    particular reference to abstract number as the subject of those operations… Again, it [The
    Analytical Engine emphasis the author] might act upon other things beside number were
    objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the
    abstract science of operations, and which should be also susceptible of adaptions to the
    action of the operating notation and mechanism of the engine. Supposing for instance, that
    the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical
    composition were susceptible of such expressions and adaptions, the engine might
    compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent… It
    may be desirable to explain, that by the word operation, we mean any process which alters
    the relation of two or more things, be this relation of what kind it may. This is the most
    general definition and would include all subjects in the universe.

    Pure creativity is also driven in a non-specified manner… Duchamp said “there is no solution because there is no problem”…

    See you soon.


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