In a word: computers. Machines can now do what you could call IQ-style thinking – covering what ‘multiple intelligences’ theorist Howard Gardner would call visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence – pretty darn well.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here and it’s getting more sophisticated every day. But AC – Artificial Creativity – barely exists.

Now you might assume that creative thinking is just another small and inevitable next step for AI systems because creativity is merely a subset of intelligence. That’s long been the position of noted cognitive scientist Robert Weisberg, who argues there’s nothing really ‘special’ about creativity.

For him, knowledge is not only necessary for creativity, it’s also sufficient – no other exotic or unusual process is involved. This view is in line with the much-discussed 10,000-hour rule of Swedish psychologist Anders Ericsson (popularised by journalist Malcolm Gladwell) which points to years of hard work in accumulating skill and experience as the key to extraordinary achievement in any field – including where creative genius is involved.

But it’s not that simple. Most creativity researchers see creativity not merely as different to normal, everyday mental processes (which contribute to our general intelligence capacity), but in an important sense as superior. Read more from…

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