Cognitive Computation

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 216–225 | Cite as

Towards Autonomous Creative Systems: A Computational Approach

  • Rob SaundersEmail author


This paper reviews the long-standing debate surrounding the nature of machine intelligence, autonomy and creativity and argues for an approach to developing autonomous computational creativity that models personal motivations, social interactions and the evolution of domains. The implications of this argument on the types of cognitive processes that are required for the development of autonomous computational creativity are explored and a possible approach to achieving the goal is described. In particular, this paper describes the development of artificial creative systems composed of intrinsically motivated agents engaging in language games to interact with a shared social and cultural environment. The paper discusses the implications that this type of approach may have for the development of autonomous creative systems.


Autonomy Computational creativity Artificial creative systems Systems theories of creativity Autopoiesis Intrinsic motivation Language games Evolution of language 



This research has been partly supported by the Australian Research Council, Discover Grant DP0666584.


  1. 1.
    Amabile TM. Motivation and creativity: effects of motivational orientation on creative writing. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1985;48:393–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anderson JR, Lebiere C. The atomic components of thought. Mahwah: Erlbaum; 1998.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Arden R, Chavez RS, Grazioplene R, Jung RE. Neuroimaging creativity: A psychometric view. Behav Brain Res. 2010;214:143–56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Axelrod R. The dissemination of culture: a model with local convergence and global polarization. J Confl Resolut. 1997;41(2):203–26. doi: 10.2307/174371,
  5. 5.
    Berlyne DE. Conflict, arousal and curiosity. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1960.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Berlyne DE. Aesthetics and psychobiology. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts; 1971.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Boden MA. The creative mind: myths and mechanisms. London: Cardinal; 1990.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Boden MA, editor. Dimensions of creativity. Cambridge: MIT Press; 1994.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Boden MA. Creativity and unpredictability. Stanf Educ Humanit Rev. 1995;4(2):123–39.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Boden MA. The creative mind: myths and mechanisms. 2nd ed. London: Routledge; 2004.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bohm D. On creativity. Leonardo 1968;1(2):137–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bourgine P, Stewart J. Autopoiesis and cognition. Artif Life 2004;10:327–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bown O. Theoretical and computational models of cohesion, competition and maladaptation in the evolution of human musical behaviour. PhD thesis, London: University of London (Goldsmiths); 2008.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Chermahini SA, Hommel B. The (b)link between creativity and dopamine: spontaneous eye blink rates predict and dissociate divergent and convergent thinking. Cognition 2010;115:458–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Clark A. Being there: putting brain, body, and world together again. Cambridge: A Bradford Book; 1998.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Colton JCS, Pease A. Computational creativity theory: the face and idea models. In: Proceedings of the international conference on computational creativity. 2011.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Colton S, Bundy A, Walsh T. Agent based cooperative theory formation in pure mathematics. In: Proceedings of the AISB’00 symposium on creative and cultural aspects and applications of AI and cognitive science. 2000.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Csikszentmihalyi M. The nature of creativity. In: Sternberg RJ, editor. Society, culture, and person: a systems view of creativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1988. pp. 325–39.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Csikszentmihalyi M. Creativity: flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper Collins; 1997.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Csikszentmihalyi M. Implications of a systems perspective for the study of creativity. In: Sternberg RJ, editor. Handbook of creativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1999. pp. 313–35.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Feldman DH, Csikszentmihalyi M, Gardner H. Changing the world: a framework for the study of creativity. Westport: Praeger Publishers; 1994.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Gabora L. Meme and variations: a computer model of cultural evolution. In: Nadel L, Stein DL, editors. 1993 Lectures in complex systems. Addison Wesley; 1995. pp. 471–486,
  23. 23.
    Galenson DW. Old masters and young geniuses: the two life cycles of artistic creativity. NJ: Princeton University Press; 2008.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Gardner H. Creating minds. New York: Basic Books; 1993.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Gaver WW, Mandler G. Play it again, sam: on liking music. Cogn Emot. 1987;1:259–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Gero JS, Sosa R. Creative design situations: artificial creativity in communities of design agents. In: CAADRIA. 2002.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gruber HE. Darwin on man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1974.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Guilford JP. Creativity. Am Psychol. 1950;5(9):444–454 (address of the President of the American Psychological Association at Pennsylvania State College, September 5, 19SO).Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hennessey BA, Amabile TM. Creativity. Annu Rev Psychol. 2010;61:569—98.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Humphrey NK. The illusion of beauty. Perception 1973;2:429–39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Iba T. An autopoietic systems theory for creativity. In: 1st conference on collaborative innovation networks. 2009.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Jordanous AK. Evaluating computational creativity: a standardised procedure for evaluating creative systems and its application. PhD thesis, Department of Informatics, University of Sussex. 2011.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Koestler A. The act of creation. London: Pan Books; 1964.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Laird J, Rosenbloom P, Newell A. Soar: an architecture for general intelligence. Artif Intell. 1987;33:1–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Langley P, Simon HA, Bradshaw GL, Zytkow JM. Scientific discovery: computational explorations of the creative processes. Cambridge: MIT Press; 1987.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Lenat DB. Am: an artificial intelligence approach to discovery in mathematics as heuristic search. Ph.D. thesis, Stanford University, AI Lab., Stanford. 1976.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Lenat DB, Brown JS. Why am and eurisko appear to work. Artif Intell. 1984;23(3):269–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Lindqvist G. Vygotsky’s theory of creativity. Creativity Res J. 2003;15(2-3):245–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Luhmann N. Soziale Systeme: Grundrieiner allgemeinen Theorie. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp; 1984.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Luisi PL. Autopoiesis: a review and a reappraisal. Naturwissenschaften 2003;90:49–59.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Martindale C. The clockwork muse. New York: Basic Books; 1990.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Martindale C, Moore K, West A. Relationship of preference judgements to typicality, novelty, and mere exposure. Empir Stud Arts 1988;6(1):79–96.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Maturana HR, Varela FJ. Autopoiesis and cognition: the realization of the living. Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing Company; 1980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Mayer RE. Fifty years of creativity research. In: Sternberg RJ, editor. Handbook of creativity, chap 22. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1999. pp. 449–60.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    McCarthy J, Minsky M, Rochester N, Shannon C. A proposal for the dartmouth summer research project on artificial intelligence. 1955.
  46. 46.
    McMullin B, Varela F. Rediscovering computational autopoiesis. In: Husbands P, Harley J, editors. Proceedings of the fourth ECAL. Cambridge: MIT Press; 1997.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Menabrea, LF. Sketch of the analytical engine invented by Charles Babbage, With notes upon the memoir by the translator Ada Augusta, Countess of Lovelace. Bibliotheque Universelle de Geneve, 82, October 1842.
  48. 48.
    Minsky M. A framework for representing knowledge. In: Winston P, editor. The psychology of computer vision. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1975.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Miranda ER, Kirby S, Todd PM. On computational models of the evolution of music: from the origins of musical taste to the emergence of grammars. Contemp Music Rev. 2003;22(3):91–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Oudeyer PY, Kaplan F. Discovering communication. Connect Sci. 2006;18(2):189–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Petroski H. The evolution of useful things. New York: Vintage; 1992.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Plucker JA, Beghetto RA, Dow GT. Why isn’t creativity more important to educational psychologists? Potentials, pitfalls, and future directions in creativity research. Educ Psychol. 2004;39(2):83–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Poincaré H. Mathematical creation. In: The foundations of science: science and hypothesis, the value of science. New York: The Science Press; 1913. pp. 383—394 (translated by G. Bruce Halsted).Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Rhodes M. An analysis of creativity. Phi Delta Kappan 1961;42(7):305—10.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Ritchie G. Assessing creativity. In: Proceedings of the AISB symposium on AI and creativity in arts and science. York; 2001. pp. 3–11.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Saunders R. Artificial creative systems and the evolution of language. In: Ventura D, Gervás P, Harrell DF, Maher ML, Pease A, Wiggins G, editors. Proceedings of the second international conference on computational creativity. México City; 2011. pp. 36–41.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Saunders R, Gero JS. Artificial creativity: A synthetic approach to the study of creative behaviour. In: Gero JS, editor. Computational and cognitive models of creative design V. Sydney: University of Sydney; 2001. pp. 113–39.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Saunders R, Gero JS. How to study artificial creativity. In: Proceedings of creativity and cognition; 2002. p. 4.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Saunders R, Gemeinboeck P, Lombard A, Bourke D, Kocabali B. Curious whispers: an embodied artificial creative system. In: International conference on computational creativity 2010, 7–9 January 2010. Lisbon; 2010.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Sawyer R. Group creativity: music, theater, collaboration. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 2003.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Sawyer RK. Group genius: the creative power of collaboration. New York: Basic Books; 2008.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Sheldon KM. Creativity and self-determination in personality. Creativity Res J. 1995;8(1):25–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Simonton DK. Genius, creativity, and leadership: historiometric inquiries. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1984.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Simonton DK. Creativity, leadership, and chance. In: Sternberg RJ, editor. The nature of creativity, chap 16. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1988. pp. 386–426.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Simonton DK. Psychology, science and history: a introduction to historiometry. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1990.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Sims K. Artificial evolution for computer graphics. Comput Graph; 1991;25(4):319–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Smithers T. Autonomy in robots and other agents. Brain Cogn. 1997;34:88–106.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Steels L. A self-organizing spatial vocabulary. Artif Life 1995;2(3):319–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Steels L. Perceptually grounded meaning creation. In: Tokoro M, editor. ICMAS96. Canada: AAAI Press; 1996.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Sternberg RJ, editor. The nature of creativity: contemporary psychological perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1988.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Sternberg RJ, Lubart TI. The concept of creativity: prospects and paradigms. In: Sternberg RJ, editor. The handbook of creativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1999. pp. 3–15.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Takeuchi H, Taki Y, Hashizume H, Sassa Y, Nagase T, Nouchi R, Kawashima R. Failing to deactivate: the association between brain activity during a working memory task and creativity. NeuroImage 2011;55:681–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Tardif TZ, Sternberg RJ. What do we know about creativity? In: Sternberg RJ, editor. The nature of creativity, chap 17. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1988. pp. 429–40.Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Taylor CW. Various approaches to the definition of creativity. In: Sternberg RJ, editor. The nature of creativity: contemporary psychological perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1988. pp. 99–124.Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Turing A. Machine intelligence. In: Copeland BJ, editor. The essential turing: the ideas that gave birth to the computer age. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1948.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Varela F. El fenmeno de la vida. Santiago: Ensayo; 2000.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Varela FJ. Principles of biological autonomy. The North-Holland Series in General Systems Research, vol. 2. New York: Elsevier North-Holland Inc.; 1979.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Vygotsky LS. The psychology of art. Cambridge: MIT Press. Original work published 1930; (1971/1930).Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Wallas G. Art of thought. New York: Harcourt Brace; 1926.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Weisberg RW. Problem solving and creativity. In: Sternberg RJ, editor. The nature of creativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1988.Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Wiggins GA. A preliminary framework for description, analysis and comparison of creative systems. J Knowl Based Syst. 2006;19(7):449–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Wittgenstein L. Philosophical investigations. London: Blackwell; 1953.Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    McCorduck P. AARON’S Code: Meta-Art, Artificial Intelligence, and the Work of Harold Cohen. London: WH Freeman & Co; 1990.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Architecture, Design and PlanningUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations