Recently, someone asked Can computers be programmed to be creative? on Philosophy SE. The answers seem to be divided into two competing theories:
- If creativity is defined by the ability to create an artistic artifact, both machines and humans can be creative.
- If creativity is defined by the "process" being used to create the artistic artifact, then humans can be creative, but machines are not creative because they do not follow the specific "process" that humans use.
It seems that the first definition of creativity ("ability to create") is more plausible to me than the second definition (which seems to worry about "implementation details" too much), so I lean towards that. However, there are many processes in the real world that can also create artistic artifacts. We can imagine a sunset being declared as pretty and beautiful and inspiring (and in fact, many artists have painted pictures of sunsets). The sunset would seem to be "creative" then. There are, of course, other examples (diamonds, flowers, etc.), but nature does seem to be able to create. Therefore, is it "creative"?
It, of course, seems like a repugnant conclusion to me to declare all of nature to be creative, since it would devalue the very idea of creativity. But, it seems to be logically consistent with the idea of treating machines as being creative too. It might even be a "purer" form of creativity, since humans are responsible for building and programming machines (and thus could influence the final output), but cannot reliably control or shape nature.
Does a person who supports "machine creativity" have to accept "natural creativity" as well? Or is there a distinction between the artistic artifacts of the machines and the artistic artifacts of nature that can lead to one to accept the possibility of "machine creativity" while denying "natural creativity"?