“AI x Creativity” was a special series of lectures delivered at Content Tokyo’s AI/Artificial Intelligence Expo on June 29th (see flash report here). Today we will be giving a synopsis of one these lectures by Dr. Matsubara Hitoshi (vice chairman of Future Hakodate University) on the topic of artificial intelligence and creativity.
■Computers are beginning to acquire creativity
When discussing artificial intelligence and creativity, what first needs to be addressed is how to define the very term “creativity.” The truth is, as humans we do not strictly have a complete grasp on what makes someone or something creative, or precisely what is the nature of this faculty we call “creativity.” I’m sure you will have no trouble realizing that to impart an ability this vague and uncertain onto a computer is, at any rate, not an easy task. In reality, all attempts to give artificial intelligence (AI) the ability to be creative up to this point have not gone well.
However, there have been instances that have made us feel that it may be possible. In particular, within the realm of games there is a phenomenon beginning to develop wherein AI could be said to actually be demonstrating a sense of creativity.
For instance, recently in the world of shogi and go, we have been seeing computers consistently win against professional players. In these matches, the computer players have been discovering moves that are considered creative even by pro standards.
Indicated here in yellow is the “three-seven-silver” move–one that was discovered by a computer. This move is so effective that afterwards, when a player emulated the move for himself, it apparently led to him winning the match. Although limited to the realm of shogi, this is nevertheless a prime example of computers beginning to develop some semblance of creativity.
Now, how does creative move such as this come to be? When playing shogi, an AI first produces a wide array of potential moves without knowing which ones are good and which are bad. Then comes the very important process in which the computer evaluates and selects only the good moves from within this array. To a human being, if someone possesses this ability, we would probably just consider them “creative,” but for a computer, this selection process was extremely difficult. However, in the game of shogi, the moves you play are what determines whether you win or lose, and thus the computer learns the logic of “if you win, the move is good, and if you lose, the move is bad.” In other words, the creativity that is emerging within computers in the sphere of games is a result of how games entail the distinct guideline of “win or lose” on which each player bases their judgment.
■Are computers capable of writing novels?
For the last five years, I have been working on a project titled “The Whimsical AI Project: It’s an Author!” in which I attempt to have a computer write an original novel. If you are a fan of Shin’ichi Hoshi, then I’m sure you have already noticed the the title of this project borrows from the titles of two of Shin’ichi Hoshi’s “short-short” stories.
Last year when I submitted a work created through the collaboration of human and AI for consideration for the Shin’ichi Hoshi Award, the work passed through the first round of review. This became something of a topic of conservation.
In this project, while the computer was cable of writing simple sentences, it is still incapable of the creativity involved in imagining an original story. Just as I described earlier, the computer is able to produce a large array of sentence candidates, but whether or not this “pseudo-novel” it has created is good material or not is something it is still not capable of judging. Unfortunately, the role of judgement in our project still belongs to the humans.
Finally, in order to be able to say that this computer has indeed “written a novel,” the computer performs its own process of evaluation and decides whether or not it has produced a respectable work. It is only once this is done that the computer has truly created something. In the example given earlier regarding shogi and the topic of games, there was a distinct criterion of “win or lose” which makes judgement very easy, but in the realm of creativity where the basis of “good or bad” is not clearly defined, the process of making judgments in that regard is still a very daunting obstacle.
■Aspiring to create an AI with a soul
On that note, I would like to speak on the topic of today’s theme. I am certain that, by using present day AI technology, we could easily pull together the signature lines of Astro Boy and create an AI chat system that spoke just like Astro in conversations. However, what the ongoing Osamu Tezuka Digital Clone Project hopes to achieve is something far beyond that. It aims to create a digital system capable of emulating the same unparalleled human creativity seen in Osamu Tezuka himself. However, when it comes to attempting to produce a brilliant work of art through a clone of Osamu Tezuka, there is no straightforward “win or lose” basis of decision-making as there is in games, and that is what makes the realization of creative AI so difficult.
This brings to mind one particular scene from Astro Boy. In it, Astro is feeling distant over how he does not have the human capacity to feel that there is beauty in the things around him. Seeing this, Professor Ochanomizu tells him to give up. However, Astro cannot. I aspire to create a digital system that can feel the way Astro does. I want to create an AI with a soul.
I believe that an AI system with a soul like Astro’s is one capable of creativity. In the field of artificial intelligence, there is currently a new topic of research known as “artificial general intelligence.” If Astro is to have a soul, then we must wait for the introduction of artificial general intelligence technology. However, the judgement principles of a soul equipped with artificial general intelligence (a sense of good and bad) may be quite different from that of a human being.
In the same way that an AI machine, by learning how to move in a game of shogi or go, managed to devise a move that was totally unforeseen by the game’s human players, I think that we can expect an AI machine that learns how to create an original work of art to create a story that is poignant and moving in a way that is unlike anything a human creator could have produce.
Creating AI equipped with a human soul will be incredibly difficult, but we AI researchers believe that it can be achieved one day. After all, someone has to take the first step. We will proceed with this project with the unyielding desire to bring the world closer to the realization of soul-bearing AI. Thank you very much.
Next time we will be delivering a synopsis of a lecture by Dr. Satoshi Kurihara (professor at the University of Electro-communications Graduate School of Informatics and Engineering / director of the Artificial Intelligence eXploration Research Center) on the themes of the true nature of creativity and the idea that AI will provide the key to innovation.
■ Content Tokyo Special Lectures: AI × Creativity, related articles (4 articles)
・【Article 1】Flash Report～Could AI Bring the Works of Osamu Tezuka into Reality?～
・【Article 2】Dr. Matsubara Hitoshi, Lecture Report～Artificial Intelligence and Creativity～
・【Article 3】Report on Satoshi Kurihara’s Talk～ The Essence of Creativity and the Key to Innovation by AI ～
・【Article 4】Report on Hiroshi Yamakawa’s Talk～Artificial Minds and Creativity～
*Osamu Tezuka’s Digital Clone Project
In Atom: The Beginning, the Nerima University Lab 7 is the laboratory of the young Drs. Tenma and Ochanomizu, later to go on to create Atom. This project aims to create such a place in reality, starting with actual AI researchers, and aiming to develop an Osamu Tezuka Digital Clone AI, a creative AI entity which could help creators with their work.
For inquiries, please contact:
*The anime series Atom: The Beginning airs on NHK every Saturday at 11:00pm!
*This comic is currently being serialized in the monthly comic magazine Heros, and six separate volumes are now for sale!
*FRI supports Atom: The Beginning, Content Tokyo’s special lecture, and the Osamu Tezuka Digital Clone Project.