Can Creativity be Programmed?

I was roaming the internet a few days ago and I came across this article.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/9764416.stm

To summarize what this article is discussing, it unveils the fact that robots are actually capable of writing books now. At the moment, they are just writing on pre-existing scientific or mathematic theories and laws, and have even occasionally dabbled in love letters as well. However, the article’s biggest point is posing the question of whether or not robots could actually be able to write a fictional novel, and even win a Pulitzer for it.

Personally, I don’t think that is a valid question at this point.

Robots are still created and manufactured by humans, and their capabilities are clearly lined out by their creators within their computer code. At this point in time, there is no way to instruct something to be creative and innovative, that kills the whole point of creativity. To be able to properly write a work of fiction, you need to be able to arrive at the idea through a combination of experience and imagination, something that machines don’t necessarily have right now. Robots simply cannot sit down and think about what would be an interesting story to write about because the code for that simply does not exist.

However, if this technology ever does exist, I think the question is less about can a machine write a novel, but does the ability to create a novel imply that at some level, these robots have an element of humanity in them? Does having the ability to be creative make the machine part of the human psyche, and can that ever be achieved? For me, writing has been a way for me to express thoughts, feelings, and emotions as well as taking ownership of a world that I have built, which inspires me to continue to write and create new stories that can be shared. Can a machine ever find this same level of joy, or will it create and be creative simply because it has to? And what would a robot author mean for the future of storytelling? Will it be another aspect of competition, or a stigma on the literary world? Will it be a boon, or will it only cause a new level of literary elitism?

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