To celebrate the publication of his latest book, The Creativity Code: How AI is Learning to Write, Paint and Think, Marcus du Sautoy was in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries.
Will a computer ever compose a symphony, write a prize-winning novel or paint a masterpiece? And if so, would we be able to tell the difference? As humans, we have an extraordinary ability to create works of art that elevate, expand and transform what it means to be alive.
Yet in many other areas, new developments in artificial intelligence (AI) are shaking up the status quo, as we find out how many of the tasks humans engage in can be done equally well, if not better, by machines. But can machines be creative? Will they soon be able to learn from the art that moves us and understand what distinguishes it from the mundane?
In The Creativity Code, du Sautoy examines the nature of creativity, as well as providing an essential guide into how algorithms work and the mathematical rules underpinning them. He asks how much of our emotional response to art is a product of our brains reacting to pattern and structure and exactly what it is to be creative in mathematics, art, language and music.
Du Sautoy finds out how long it might be before machines come up with something creative and whether they might jolt us into being more imaginative in turn. The result is a fascinating and very different exploration into both AI and the essence of what it means to be human.
Marcus du Sautoy is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He is author of six books including The Creativity Code – How AI is Learning to Write, Paint and Think (2019). He has presented numerous radio and TV series, including a four-part, landmark TV series for the BBC called The Story of Maths. He received an OBE for services to science in 2010 and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016.