Artificial life illuminates human hyper-creativity

The aim of this chapter is to show how the technological research activity called “artificial life” is shedding new light on human creativity. Artificial life aims to understanding the fundamental behavior of life-like systems by synthesizing that behavior in artificial systems (more on artificial life below). One of the most interesting behaviors of living systems is their creativity. Biological creativity can be found in both individual living organisms and in the whole biosphere—the entire interconnected system comprised of all forms of life—but I will focus in this chapter on the biological creativity exhibited by the evolutionary process. This is the creativity that enabled the earliest simple life forms to spontaneously evolve into the incredibly rich and beautiful diversity of life that now surrounds us. This diversity of life includes the most complex adaptive and intelligent systems in the known universe. This is an amazingly powerful spontaneous creation process, indeed. I will refer to it as hyper-creativity to call attention to the way in which it produces qualitatively new and more complex kinds of adaptations. There is a similar quality in human creativity. I am thinking of the aesthetic and cultural creativity of artists, but also the intellectual creativity of scientists and scholars, as well as the commercial and practical creativity of craftsmen, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. And I want to focus especially on the hyper- creative aspects of human creativity—the way in which human activity can yield qualitatively new and more complex creations.
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