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Why Is PROSECCO Needed?


Creativity is a long-cherished and widely-studied aspect of human behavior that allows us to re-invent the familiar and to imagine the new. Computational Creativity (CC) is a recent but burgeoning area of creativity research that brings together academics and practitioners from diverse disciplines, genres and modalities, to explore the potential of computers to be autonomously creative or to collaborate as co-creators with humans.

As a scientific endeavor, CC proposes that computational modeling can yield important insights into the fundamental capabilities of both humans and machines. As an engineering endeavor, CC claims that it is possible to construct autonomous software artifacts that achieve novel and useful ends that are deserving of the label "creative". Overall, the CC field seeks to establish a symbiotic relationship between these scientific and engineering endeavors, wherein the software artifacts that are produced are not only useful in their own right, but also serve as empirical tests of the adequacy of scientific theories of creativity. If sufficiently nurtured, the products of CC research can have a significant impact on many aspects of modern life, with particular consequences for the worlds of entertainment, culture, science, education, design and art.

So that CC can achieve its potential as a future and emerging topic of research and technology development, a range of important coordination actions are needed to consolidate and grow the field while engaging with neighboring disciplines. These include focused outreach to researchers in cognitive science, psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience, as well as to practitioners in musicology, literary theory/art theory, design theory, and pedagogy. An important goal of the proposed coordinating action is to perform outreach to these related research communities, in a way that grows the field while maintaining the coherence of its vision and the computational specificity of its guiding principles. The PROSECCO consortium brings together core CC researchers with researchers from a neighboring discipline – Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery. An International Advisory Panel, which also provides guidance to the project, likewise comprises a complementary set of international CC researchers and researchers from other creativity-related disciplines such as Psychology and Cognitive science.

The field of Computational Creativity has been growing steadily, if linearly, for the past decade. However, significant coordination efforts are needed to produce geometric growth, so that CC undergoes the transition from niche interest area to an established discipline in its own right. PROSECCO coordination efforts include the establishment of software and data repositories, the development of standards for sharing and combining data and tools, the writing of CC text books and collections of canonical papers, the running of summer/autumn schools and developer camps, and the launching of an online open-access journal for disseminating the results of CC research.

This transition is necessary if computers are to go from being passive tools to active co-creators, to become full partners in creation that can take the initiative and actively contribute to the design of new products and ideas. As the field of AI matures and its research becomes an unquestioned part of the technology landscape, creative ability remains a controversial and divisive aspect of computer functionality. Before the benefits of CC research can be reaped in personal and commercial terms, we must first tackle the practical and philosophical barriers to acceptance and adoption that the topic inevitably raises. A significant aspect of PROSECCO's efforts will thus focus on raising favorable awareness of the potentials of CC, so that it is seen as a valuable augmentation of human creativity and not a diminishment of human potential.