Can Computers be Creative?



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Tartu Ülikool


It is sometimes claimed that computer automation of work will free people up to be more creative and that being creative is a way to add value to one’s life. However, if computers themselves become creative, then this might impede a human’s ability to add value to their life. This thesis investigates the question ‘Can computers be creative?’ by assessing the role that consciousness plays in creativity. Specifically, I assess the following argument against computer creativity: (1) creativity requires consciousness; (2) computers cannot be conscious; (3) therefore, computers cannot be creative. The first premise is challenged by cases where humans program computers to produce apparently creative (novel and valuable) results. However, in the relevant sense of “creativity”, creativity must result from the actions of an agent. Accordingly, I will focus on whether the agency that is required for creativity requires consciousness. I draw on literature from philosophy of creativity, philosophy of artificial intelligence and philosophy of mind to argue that consciousness is not necessary for creativity. I also present some considerations against the second premise, that computers cannot be conscious.



creativity, computers, philosophy