Sunday, December 29, 2013

Is true creativity possible in a mechanical universe?

Can a machine ever be truly creative, even if it is made of many (even billions) of individually uncreative parts?

The very definition of a machine is a system which performs in an orderly way without deviating from its designed purpose. It is hard to see how any functioning of a machine could be described as truly “creative”. For creativity requires the output of a system to be unable to predict given the inputs into the system. This is clearly not true for a machine.

So what is required for an entity to be truly creative?

Does it mean that one or more components of the system that make up the entity must be creative in its own right? For example, in the case of a living, biological entity must the individual components of the entity- living cells- be creative in their own right for the entity itself to be described as truly creative? Or is creativity just a largely meaningless term that really means a system is so complicated, with such a wide variety of inputs, that the outputs of the system become near-impossible to predict?

I would argue that a truly creative system would require a truly creative component in that system to make decisions that are impossible to accurately predict, even if we could have access to complete information about inputs into the system. This component may be the mind that many conjecture exists within living entities. I would also argue that such a non-physical entity as mind would also be present in other living biological structures such as living cells.


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