The Creativity Code by Marcus du Sautoy

The Creativity Code cover

The Creativity Code is a look at artificial intelligence, how it works, and what it might be able to do. Starting with what Ada Lovelace said about computing machines and creativity, Marcus du Sautoy goes through the achievements of AI so far, the mathematics that underpins machine learning, and explores the meaning of ‘creativity’, in order to look at whether computers will ever be able to be truly ‘creative’. 

What unfolds is a book that crosses disciplines, touching upon computer science and programming, mathematical proofs and the storytelling nature of them, how art works and how it relates to chaos theory, and whether music can be computed, amongst other things. Written in a way that is open and accessible, The Creativity Code is not bogged down in technical jargon and only describes actual algorithms or other mathematical concepts where necessary. Instead, it focuses on crosses boundaries (describing a theorem like an adventure narrative, for example) and on looking at what AI can do and whether this is creative. Some of the most interesting parts are larger questions about where coders and computers have the control, knowledge, or creativity, and the kind of opposition to AI in areas such as art, music, and mathematics.

Deeply engrossing and informative, The Creativity Code takes a complex topic (AI and machine learning) and gives an interdisciplinary look at its past and future. Despite what the title and blurb imply, it isn’t only about whether AI can be ‘creative’, but also about what creativity is, how disciplines are creative, what AI can currently do, and what this means for the future and for how AI can be developed further. Anyone interested in crossover between arts and sciences should give it a read, as well as those who care about the creative side of science or how automation is going beyond simple instructions. It is an accessible book on machine learning, but also a thoughtful look at the meaning of creativity, and this makes it quite remarkable.

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