1962 TheProcessofCreativeThinking

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Subject Headings: Creative Thinking; Artificial Intelligence; Techno-Optimism


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The success already achieved in synthesizing mechanisms that solve difficult problems in the same manner as humans is beginning to provide a theory of problem-solving that is highly specific and operational. The purpose of this paper is to draw out some of the implications of this theory for creative thinking. To do so is to assume that creative thinking is simply a special kind of problem-solving behavior. This seems to us a useful working hypothesis. We start by discussing the relation of creative thinking to problem-solving in general, and by inquiring to what extent existing problem-solving programs may be considered creative. Next we sketch the theory of problem-solving that underlies these programs, and then use the theory to analyze the programs, and to compare them with some human problem-solving behavior exhibited in thinking-aloud protocols of subjects in the laboratory. Finally, we consider some topics that have been prominent in discussions of creativity to see what this analysis of problem-solving has to say about them.



Some of the programs we have described perform work that is considered difficult, and even mildly creative, when it is done by humans. Although those program fall considerably short in performance of the highest levels of creativity of which human are capable, there is every reason to support that they are qualitatively of the same genus as those more complex human problem solving processes.

In another place, we have predicted that within ten years a computer will discover and prove an important mathematical theorem and compose music that is regarded as aesthetically significant. On the basis of our experience with the heuristics of logic and chess, we are will to add the further prediction that only moderate extrapolation is required from the capacities of programs already in existence to achieve the additional problem solving power needed for each simulation.




 AuthorvolumeDate ValuetitletypejournaltitleUrldoinoteyear
1962 TheProcessofCreativeThinkingAllen Newell
J. C. Shaw
Herbert A. Simon (1916-2001)
The Process of Creative Thinking10.1037/13117-0031962
AuthorAllen Newell +, J. C. Shaw + and Herbert A. Simon +
doi10.1037/13117-003 +
titleThe Process of Creative Thinking +
year1962 +