The ability to create and to be creative is a fundamental feature defining us as humankind. But what are the mechanisms behind human creativity, and how can they be applied in artificial intelligence? The group of scientists from the Future and Emerging Technologies Project ConCreTe (Concept Creation Technology) sheds a new light on this so far unexplored topic.

Project’s goal – new tech and know-how to explore and improve creativity in computer systems

Creativity gives what is needed for any intelligent organism to behave in a meaningful way – being able to respond flexibly, according to the circumstances. The overall aim of ConCreTe project is to design and build various tools and knowledge needed to explore that phenomenon, to develop it further, and to examine and evaluate it from a scientific perspective.

Human creativity can be viewed as non-conscious generation of possible solutions (examples) to a certain situation, with a final conscious selection of the highest-quality choice. Scientists from ConCreTe focus their study on these two components of creative behavior:

  • mechanism responsible for generating possible examples, and
  • mechanism standing behind evaluation of generated examples (according to both novelty and value) and conscious choosing of the most suitable one.

Mimicking creative composition

The researchers from ConCreTe are putting together computer systems equipped with mechanisms enabling imitation of human creative behavior. Generation of human language texts allows the researchers to investigate the process of creative composition from a computational point of view. One of the tools developed in the scope of the project is Tra-La-Lyrics 2.0 – it is a system that automatically generates song lyrics. The novelty of this tool lays in its focus on generating lyrics that not only rhyme and match a given rhythm, but are also on the way to become meaningful.

As a result, the system is able to produce rhyming text corresponding to the sound rhythm, and consisting of semantically coherent words.

Creative power of your brain waves

One of the other areas of research carried out by ConCreTe project is alpha brain waves (they represent the dominant human brain wave activity, mostly common among highly creative individuals) - their variations and their relation to creativity. One of the tools developed in the scope of the project is Brain Poetry (based on methods of computational creativity developed by the Discovery Research Group at University of Helsinki partner) – it is a poem generating machine that produces poetry from the user's brain waves. The machine "reads" the users' alpha brain waves – the waves control the poetry algorithm determining the theme and rhythm of the poem. Each piece created by Brain Poetry varies depending on the individual's alpha waves. The tool casts a new light on the relationship between human and machine, and shows the impact of brain waves' frequency on creative process.

Find below the video presenting how Brain Poetry works (user's experience).

The project's overall goal is to improve computer systems so they can behave in ways comparable with human creativity, both autonomously and interactively. The expected outcomes will enable better interaction between human and machine, and will possibly stimulate creativity of new kinds, not yet exhibited by humans.

Together with CoInvent, Lrn2Cre8 and WHIM, this FET Proactive project is part of "Creative ICT" initiative dedicated to developing better understanding of creativity. ConCreTe, funded under the FP7 Work Program, has started in October 2013 and will run till September 2016. It is coordinated by School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London.

Concept Creation Technology
Project Acronym