Keynote 1: Computers and Creativity: Past, Present and Future
Creativity is a much used and abused term, prized by many but understood by a relative few. It remains a curious situation that, despite a substantial research effort, no computer software exists that is independently creative by any human standard. Yet various forms of automated creativity are increasingly found in electronic and software-based products. Current attempts at automating creativity are problematic, because they facilitate only constrained, homogenised results that curtail rather than actively engage the human imagination.
But the computer can have many positive contributions to expanding and diversifying human creativity, particularly in the role of a creative partner. Using the concept of a "creative system" – a configuration of carefully connected components with feedback – computers can assist creative humans in discovering novelty, surprise and value. This methodology opens up many new possibilities for the design of creative software and our interaction with it. In this presentation I will show a number of examples of how models adapted from biological evolution and ecosystems can be productively used for creative discovery in artistic contexts.
Creativity and innovation are essential for contemporary society to flourish and prosper in the 21st century. To effectively address this proposition, there needs to be a fundamental change in computing education, so that software engineers actually appreciate not only what creativity is, but what its like to work creatively as an artist, designer or musician. Hence, we advocate an approach where we build on synergistic relationships between people, machines and society to expand our creativity rather than try and automate it.
For more than twenty years, Jon McCormack has been at the forefront of developing artistic creativity with computers. Working in what is now known as generative art and creative coding, he uses computer code as a medium for creative expression to create unique and distinctive artworks informed by his research in computer science.
His artworks have been widely exhibited at leading galleries, museums and symposia, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), Tate Gallery (Liverpool, UK), ACM SIGGRAPH (USA), Prix Ars Electronica (Austria) and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Australia). His has received over 15 international awards for research and new media art including prizes at Ars Electronica (Austria), Images du Futur (Canada), New Voices, New Visions (USA), Alias/Wavefront (USA), The John Lansdown Award for Interactive Media (UK), and Nagoya Biennial (Japan). McCormack led the team that was awarded the 2012 Eureka Prize for innovation in computer science (for the creative musical software Nodal).
McCormack is Associate Professor, ARC Australian Research Fellow and director of the Centre for Electronic Media Art at Monash University, Melbourne. He also holds a Visiting Research Fellow position at Goldsmiths, University of London and was recently artist in residence at the Ars Electronica Future Lab, in Linz, Austria. His most recent book, "Computers and Creativity" is co-edited with Prof. Mark d'Inverno and looks as how artistic and musical creativity is being changed by computers.
Keynote 2: Idea-Marathon System
Idea-Marathon is an innovative system, designed to cultivate human creativity. Developed by Takeo Higuchi in 1984 when he was staying in Saudi Arabia, IMS has already served five thousands of people to change their lives to be more creative ones. The idea of IMS is very simple: Think at least one idea each day. Write it down immediately. Then talk to your neighbors, like your colleague, friends and family. As one makes this into a habit, one finds his/her own hidden ability and may become a very creative person with proper support.
Takeo Higuchi started IMS on January, 1984. Since then he has written down over 326,000 ideas in his 379 notebooks. Now he produces 50 ideas per day, 1000 ideas in 20 days. Hand-written notebooks with PC is the best combination for future wisdom
Keynote 3: More Things in Heaven and Earth - Complexity, Castrophie and Creativity
In ancient Greek mythology, the Fates were three sister goddesses who spun the threads of people’s lives, weaving them into patterns of destiny. The world round us is a complex network of interacting entities and events, but our models of reality only ever capture slices of its richness. What they omit is often just as important as what they include. The traditional way of dealing with this complexity, both in nature and human society, is to try to reduce it by treating each system as a closed box.
Some of the greatest discoveries in science have come from recognizing deep similarities between things that at first glance seem completely unrelated. How for instance, could a starfish share anything at all in common with an atomic explosion? Complex networks of interactions explain many things: why experts are so poor at predicting the future, how serendipity occurs, why accidents happen, why new technology always has unexpected side effects and how unplanned social trends emerge.
Complexity theory is beginning to discover how these phenomena emerge, both in nature and in society. Important processes include cascading contexts, positive feedback, and dual phase evolution. Computer science is just beginning to exploit them for knowledge discovery and for solving complex problems.
David Green’s research interest is complexity and all its implications. His work includes contributions to network theory, as well as landscape ecology, artificial life, evolutionary computation and socio-economic networks. In the course of thirty-five years of research on complexity Professor Green has investigated applied problems as diverse as forest ecology, protein structure, and social consensus. He proved the universality of networks in complex systems and discovered a previously unknown process, dual phase evolution, which is a widespread source of order and novelty in nature.
David Green is Professor of Information Technology at Monash University. He is author of more than 200 research publications. These include 16 books on complexity theory. He is the author of popular titles such as The Serendipity Machine, Patterns in the Sand, and Of Ants and Men. More technical titles he has authored include Complex Systems, Complexity in Landscape Ecology and Dual Phase Evolution, and Intelligent and Evolutionary Systems.
An early pioneer of the World Wide Web as a medium for scientific information exchange, Professor Green’s research has included research on online geographic information systems and information networks. During the 1990s, he established several pioneering online scientific and educational information resources, such as the New South Wales HSC Online. He also played a leading role in national and international projects to establish coordinated networks of information sources about the world's biodiversity and environments.