How Letting Go of Objectives Helps Creativity and Discovery

W H A T :  A lecture given on the topic of creativity by a Computer Scientist.
The lecture will be followed by a Q+A session (accompanied by RISD
professors whose interests overlap with that of the scientist’s)

W H E N :  4/22 Friday 6:30pm – 8:30pm

W H E R E :  RISD Auditorium

W H Y :  There seems to be a great deal of overlap between the
creative process we talk about in the art + design context with
the process of evolution.

W H A T :  This talk will examine the negative effect of explicit objectives on
creative discovery and the liberation that is possible when we abandon
their false security. Although a common first step in many creative
endeavors is to set goals, recent experiments in the field of
evolutionary computation (an area of artificial intelligence) have
begun to reveal new insight into why objectives often inadvertently
damage the very process of discovery they aim to guide. In particular,
especially in ambitious projects, goals can blind us to essential
stepping stones on the road to long-term innovation. Through several
experiments in a process called interactive evolution and with a
computer algorithm called “novelty search,” this talk will expose the
delicate nature of promising stepping stones and contemplate why
reaching them sometimes may require abandoning the tantalizing idea
that great works require great goals.

W H O :  Dr. Kenneth O. Stanley is an assistant professor in the Department of
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of
Central Florida. His research focuses on evolving neural networks and
applying evolutionary algorithms to the creative process.
At a deeper level, he is interested in exploring the essential
ingredients that facilitate innovation and creativity through the
process of search.

Dr. Kenneth O. Stanley

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