Can AI really be creative?

AI and games researcher Tommy Thompson, Senior lecturer and writer/producer of  series ‘@AIandGames’ says:

‘...Computational Creativity is a long-established field of study that blends the theoretical fields of cognitive psychology and philosophy with the algorithm and data-driven realities of artificial intelligence…(in) computational creativity the aspiration is for an AI to not only be a creator of art, but that it does so in manner that simulates or replicates human creative processes, to have intentionality in its creative pursuits..’  *1

There is a long trail of circumstantial evidence to support the claim for AI creativity, but intentionality is harder to prove:

1973- Artificial intelligence called Aaron developed by Harold Cohen has made abstract painting in colour and continued to develop in complexity over time. Its paintings have been shown at Tate Modern and San Francisco museum of Modern Art.

1987-David Cope’s  EMI (Experiments in Musical Intelligence) software has produced musical works in the style of various composers eg Beethoven.  Some of its music has been commercially recorded (-Cockrell in 2001 ). Its compositions range from short pieces to full length opera.

2009- Simon Colton’s Painting fool scanned the news headlines and made a painting on its interpretation of the Afghan war

2010-  Michael Cook a computer scientist at Imperial College London developed a game-designing AI system called ‘Angelina’. Angelina creates games using a technique known as cooperative co-evolution. It has produced a game called “Space Station Invaders’

2010- David copes  subsequent developed a program called ‘Emily Howell’  this released its first music album ‘From Darkness to light’ . The program models musical creativity based on the types of creativity outlined by Margaret Boden in her book The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms. Most recently, all of his original compositions have been written in collaboration with the computer. He seeks a synergy between composer creativity and computer algorithm as his principal creative direction

2016- Mark Riedl an associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has developed a program called ‘Scheherazade’ which can write stories  or at least fairly convincing vignettes. Whilst  the goal of the  ‘What-If-Machines (Whim) project, a venture involving teams at five universities across Europe. The Whim, as the program  seeks to understand what is possible by analysing vast databases of human prose. It then inverts or twists what it has learned to produce a new idea that could serve as the premise of a story. It uses what if scenarios to create stories such as: eg what if a whale forgot how to swim?


Its also interesting to know that research has shown that when we find out an artwork is made by a machine we like it less than similar human works.

The search for machine creativity is an ongoing field…There are research events such as the International Conference on Computational Creativity or ICCC, in which researchers from across the world come to discuss their ideas and showcase their creative systems.





*1  ‘Games by Angelina-The AI games designer’ by Tommy Thompson, Oct 2017,  published on web by ‘Towards Data Science’                  (  http//