Some Empirical Criteria for Attributing Creativity to a Computer Program

Graeme D Ritchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Over recent decades there has been a growing interest in the question of
whether computer programs are capable of genuinely creative activity. Although
this notion can be explored as a purely philosophical debate, an alternative perspective is to consider what aspects of the behaviour of a program might be noted or measured in order to arrive at an empirically supported judgement that creativity has occurred. We sketch out, in general abstract terms, what goes on when a potentially creative program is constructed and run, and list some of the relationships (for example, between input and output) which might contribute to a decision about creativity. Specifically, we list a number of criteria which might indicate interesting properties of a program’s behaviour, from the perspective of possible creativity. We go on to review some ways in which these criteria have been applied to actual implementations, and some possible improvements to this way of assessing creativity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-99
Number of pages33
JournalMinds and Machines
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • AI methodology
  • computational creativity
  • empirical criteria
  • generating artefacts
  • assessing output


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