Toolmaking

One of the things that occasionally fascinates me is how we define ourselves as human by defining other animals as somehow, well, inferior. And one of the areas that we’ve traditionally done that til recently is definig ourselves as the only toolmakers. Now anyone who’s ever looked at an empty snail shell with a hole in the side without going “wow, I never knew they had escape hatches” automatically knows that isn’t true. But how untrue? Once more to the literature boys… Several books and articles (e.g. this 1940s article by Kenneth Oakley) on man the toolmaker take toolmaking as a given; these works move straight to which tools for what purpose, and skip the reasons and methods by which we might have become toolmakers at all. There’s a species of early man, homo habilis (“able man” or sometimes “man the toolmaker”) named after its toolmaking skills, mainly for an…

Software

Defining Creativity

Sometimes I’m going to post some old notes here. This is one of them. There are many different attempts to define creativity, and work on automating creativity is often inhibited by the au­thors’ own definitions. The process of creativity has been divided into several stages. Hadamard’s description of Poincare’s four stages is used by Boden amongst others: these are preparation ­ define the problem, and attempt to solve it by rational means. incubation ­ generate novel patterns or concepts. inspiration ­ recognise a creative solution. verification ­ rationally compare the solution to the problem. The preparation and verification stages may not exist be­cause there may not always be a given aim to creative work. Incubation and inspiration are however central to creativity: it always contains a two­ part process of generation of concepts then evaluation of how creative those concepts are. Defining the problem The act of finding a problem…