(2022-08-04) Johnson Three Models Of Creativity

Steven Johnson: Three Models Of Creativity. I was taking over as the host of The TED Interview... I thought I would share a few key excerpts from them.

The first conversation was with Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan.

Egan and I covered a lot of ground in our chat: we talked about Dungeons and Dragons, the role of the novelist in making sense of technological change, non-dystopian sci-fi, GPT-3, and much more

Her latest book, The Candy House, is a sequel of sorts to Goon Squad, and shares much of that book’s extraordinary formal inventiveness: each chapter jumps around in time and perspective; one is composed entirely in 140 character tweets. (Goon Squad famously had an entire chapter structured around PowerPoint slides.)

The latest TED Interview episode is a conversation with Demis Hassabis, the founder of DeepMind, and arguably the leading thinker in the world of artificial intelligence right now.

asked him what where he thought AI was currently in terms of genuine creativity

I would put creativity into three buckets. If we define creativity as coming up with something novel or new for a purpose, then I think what AI systems are quite good at the moment is interpolation and extrapolation

But what's missing is true invention. And you can see that because our systems like AlphaZero and AlphaGo can invent new strategies for Chess and Go, but they can't invent Go

The final item I wanted to mention is a new profile in the Hidden Heroes series, this one on legendary software pioneer Douglas Engelbart. ((2022-07-28) Johnson Douglas Engelbart Hidden Heroes)

in researching this profile, I realized that part of the innovation story here was not just the software, but all the creative and technical work that had to go into actually inventing the genre of a high-tech product demo itself

if you’re interested in the long-running “scenius” of the Bay Area, I recommend John Markoff’s new biography of Stewart Brand, Whole Earth, which I drew on a little to write the profile of Engelbart

It occurs to me writing this just now that someone—not me, I’ve got too many projects already—should write a book that’s a survey of a handful of different examples of scenius at work over the centuries, one “scene” per chapter.

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