Facing the Future: Evolutionary Possibilities for Human-Machine Creativity

  • Jon McCormack
Part of the Natural Computing Series book series (NCS)


This chapter examines the possibilities and challenges that lie ahead for evolutionary music and art. Evolutionary computing methods have enabled new modes of creative expression in the art made by humans. One day, it may be possible for computers to make art autonomously. The idea of machines making art leads to the question: what do we mean by ‘making art’ and how do we recognise and acknowledge artistic creativity in general? Two broad categories of human-machine creativity are defined: firstly, machines that make art like, and for, humans; and secondly, machines that make ‘art’ that is recognised as creative and novel by other machines or agents. Both these categories are examined from an evolutionary computing perspective. Finding ‘good’ art involves searching a phase-space of possibilities beyond astronomical proportions, which makes evolutionary algorithms potentially suitable candidates. However, the problem of developing artistically creative programs is not simply a search problem. The multiple roles of interaction, environment, physics and physicality are examined in the context of generating aesthetic output. A number of ‘open problems’ are proposed as grand challenges of investigation for evolutionary music and art. For each problem, the impetus and background are discussed. The paper also looks at theoretical issues that might limit prospects for art made by machines, in particular the role of embodiment, physicality and morphological computation in agent-based and evolutionary models. Finally, the paper looks at artistic challenges for evolutionary music and art systems.


Pixel Image Golden Ratio Artistic Creativity Evolutionary Computing Creative Behaviour 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon McCormack
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Electronic Media Art Monash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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