A few of my colleagues believe that science, like creativity, requires creative breakthroughs. I sided with others who believe that science can be a strictly methodological pursuit, requiring no creativity. To prove my point I contacted several Mathematics professors to get their opinions. To my surprise these professors believe that upper mathematics is a very creative and imaginitive process. One professor put it in terms that I can completely relate to, but I’m not sure I agree with. Professor Bert Schreiber said that “Serious mathematics is based on logic and logical development. But you cannot decide what path to follow in
creating something new without a great deal of imagination.”
I can completely relate to this statement. Being a programmer, my process is very similar to that of a mathematician and until now I’ve felt the same way about programming. I believed it truly was a creative process that was almost more artistic than it was science.
Then I talked with Professor Greg Bachelis. He couldn’t say for sure that mathematics was a creative process, but he seemed to lean in that direction. He talked about AI (Aritifical Intelligence) and how several mathematicians turned programmers have come to the conclusion that once they finish their AI software, the computer will be able to solve open problems. This leads me to a single question. Can a computer be creative? If math and programming are creative processes and a computer can be programmed to do either of them, then a computer would have to be creative. The only three answers are that either a computer can be creative, math and programming aren’t creative processes, or computers will never be able to do high end math and programming.
I’m finding myself slightly torn. I want to believe that math and programming are creative processes, but I also believe a computer will be able to do both of these things in the future. Will a computer be able to paint a masterpiece? Replicate sure, but an original work? Hmm, will a computer be able to create an original program or solve an open math problem? Are we just advanced computers?
I also believe that we are a product of causality and if every varaible is know the next tick can be predicted and so on. As such a computer should be able to do everything we can do, so if we are at all creative, a computer will likely be able to be creative too.