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Automating Genius

posted 17 Apr 2015, 20:29 by George Hicken   [ updated 11 Jun 2015, 14:46 ]
Just in case I publish this instead of save it as a draft... these are notes in very rough draft! I'm not even sure the concept is worth pursuing at this point in time.

This discussion is limited to creativity within a scientific/material domain. I suspect that it could be rewritten so that the core concepts are equally applicable to artistic endeavour as well however I'm not convinced I could do so within the same text. Not only does the terminology change, but so do the meanings of critical words such as value and there are additional cultural memes that are likely inhibit discussion when not enforcing separation.

In the following discussion I, tentatively, ascribe to the term value the meaning of widening future possibilities.

Intuition/inspiration - recognition of value in a seemingly unconnected or inapplicable transform/action as it applies to a base concept

Genius - chaining multiple non-obvious steps (leaps of intuition) to reach a goal that lies beyond the bounds of what is considered possible, or a single intuitive leap that is so disconnected from the base concept that even with the start and end points another can't see how you get from one to the other.

Assuming my definitions of intuition and genius are remotely correct this allows me to state that genius is the ability to free associate beyond what is normal, coupled with a superior ability to judge value of the resulting concept in a given domain. It is said that there is a fine line between genius and insanity; I say that that line is the ability to judge value. It may be that in time those we thought insane will be proven otherwise, that they simply judged value from a perspective that allowed them to see beyond our far horizons.

Now we get to the why, why have I tried to break down the concepts of intuition and genius into constituent parts, why discuss this topic at all. The first part is a desire to figure out how to improve the scope and range of my intuition, how to do so without simply polluting my perceived solution space with useless ideas, and how to retain a (mostly)contemporary value judgement.  The latter is most important in the modern world as the ability of a single person to effect change is essentially non existent and while a label of genius provides a fulcrum a label of insanity is significantly limiting in most cases. The second part is just as speculative and relates to computers.

A computer could be considered the perfect free association mechanism, to the point that it is entirely random. The problem being of course that a random walk is rarely a good way to find something, however knowledge management systems are in their infancy and knowledge manipulation is barely gestating. The closest I've come across is the reprehensible practice of using a computer to scan existing patents, map the nomenclature to a close but not colourably similar domain, and resubmit them if the patent meets various sensibility criteria.

--Continue discussion about various ways to construct an automated value judgement--

References:
Free association - http://www.nature.com/news/why-great-ideas-come-when-you-aren-t-trying-1.10678
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