Introduction to Creative Synthesis

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The ideal of creative synthesis is that the process of creation is intellectually, mechanically, and socially a synthetic collaboration, frames our work. Humans are users of tools and, …

The ideal of creative synthesis is that the process of creation is intellectually, mechanically, and socially a synthetic collaboration, frames our work. Humans are users of tools and, philosophically, the perceived uniqueness of this trait has defined our understanding of ourselves since the beginning of time. Tools have become increasingly complex, from a chipped stone ax to a web programming interface shared across millions. With rare exceptions everything we do, and everything we do it with, has been constructed by the collaboration and synthesis of thousands of others working before us. This lecture beings an attempt to understanding the social, technological, and philosophical implications of creative synthesis and the current trends of synthetic collaboration on the web. We will survey technology (and seeming untechnology) as examples of the acts and artifacts of creative synthesis.

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  • 1. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Course co-101 Last Revised November 17th, 2007 Web: http://www.creativesynthesis.net/blog/education/introduction-to-creative-synthesis/
  • 2. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Abstract & Introduction Abstract: The ideal of creative synthesis is that the process of creation is intellectually, mechanically, and socially a synthetic collaboration, frames our work. Humans are users of tools and, philosophically, the perceived uniqueness of this trait has defined our understanding of ourselves since the beginning of time. Tools have become increasingly complex, from a chipped stone ax to a web programming interface shared across millions. With rare exceptions everything we do, and everything we do it with, has been constructed by the collaboration and synthesis of thousands of others working before us. This class will attempt to understanding the social, technological, and philosophical implications of creative synthesis and the current trends of synthetic collaboration on the web. We will survey technology (and seeming untechnology) as examples of the acts and artifacts of creative synthesis. Coupled with this we will focus on understanding web programming as a medium for creative synthesis, and collaboratively construct a web application by focusing on what and why, with a little bit of how. Instructor: Matthew Hockenberry Matthew Hockenberry is the director of the Creative Synthesis Collaborative, a nonprofit research group exploring the role of synthesis in human creativity. He has been involved in Academic Research for the past seven years, he's worked in Computer Science, Design, Psychology, Social Software, Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Web Application Development. He previously served as an affiliate researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Matthew has been published in such conferences as CHI (Computer Human Interaction) ITSC (Intelligent Tutoring Systems Conference) Interact, and ICSC (The International Conference on Spatial Cognition). Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide 2
  • 3. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Defining Creative Synthesis cre!a!tive syn!the!sis [kree-ey-tiv sin-thuh-sis] creative synthesis: the process of creation that is intellectually, mechanically, and socially a synthetic collaboration. Creative Synthesis acknowledges synthesis, the combination of smaller constituent elements forming a more complex whole, as the driving force of modern creation, innovation, and intelligence. We identify creative synthesis a modern solution for solving problems and expanding knowledge. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide 3
  • 4. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Defining Creative Synthesis In other words: We want to think about the collage, rather than the sculpture. Left, Picasso's Compotier avec fruits, violon et verre Right, Michelangelo's David Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide 4
  • 5. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Why Creative Synthesis Creative Synthesis is an approach to solving problems. What kind of problems? Important problems with no solutions. Solved problems with bad solutions. Simple Problem Problem: How can I store my photos so I always have access to them? Solution: Flickr is created to let you host your photos online. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide 5
  • 6. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Why Creative Synthesis Creative Synthesis is an approach to solving problems. What kind of problems? Important problems with no solutions. Solved problems with bad solutions. Complex Problem Main Problem: How can I store my photos so I always have access to them? Secondary Problem: How can I share these with my friends? Tertiary Problem: How can I share these with people in general? Secondary Problem: How can I remember things about my photos? Tertiary Problem: How can I remember where I took a photo? Solution: Flickr is created to let you host your photos online, share them in different ways with different people, and add meta information about the photo. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide 6
  • 7. Spiral Solutions Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide 7
  • 8. The Act of Creation Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide 8
  • 9. Creation requires Creativity? Defining Creative Synthesis What kind of creativity do we care about? Problem solving. It’s always about problem solving. What does it mean to be ‘creative’? What is creativity? Where is creativity going? Are we more or less creativity than we used to be? Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide 9
  • 10. Is Creativity only in Creation? (positive) See Process (later) Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide10
  • 11. Creative Thought In Education and Learning Do Schools Kill Creativity? Sir Ken Robinson, TED Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. With ample anecdotes and witty asides, Robinson points out the many ways our schools fail to recognize -- much less cultivate -- the talents of many brilliant people. quot;We are educating people out of their creativity,quot; Robinson says. http://www.ted.com Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide11
  • 12. Knowledge, know-how, intelligence & Innovation Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide12
  • 13. Knowledge What is knowledge anyway? What does knowledge require? To know something is to believe something, to be justified in that belief and (ultimately) for that belief to be true. The Baryshnikov Problem (Gettier Problems) You see that Baryshnikov is going to be in town next week. So you believe that he will be. Because you read it on a promotional sign, it seems like your belief is justified. The next week, unbeknownst to you, the performance is cancelled because Baryshnikov has broken his leg. He goes to visit his doctor (who happens to be in the same town). So he was in town, your belief was true. BUT - it wasn’t true for the reasons you thought. Even though you had a belief that was true and justified, it doesn’t seem like you really knew that he was in town. Does it? Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide13
  • 14. How do we get Knowledge? Research? Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide14
  • 15. Evaluation and Experimentation One Approach: Thought Experiments Galileo's balls Contrary to what your teachers told you, Galileo Galilei likely did not drop balls from the Tower of Pisa; he conducted the gravity experiment in the laboratory of his mind. His 16th-century peers believed heavier objects fell faster than light ones. So Galileo imagined a heavy ball attached by a string to a light ball. Would the light ball create drag and slow the heavy one down? Nope, he concluded, they would hit the ground simultaneously. Schrödinger's cat A cat is trapped in a box with radioactive material, a Geiger counter, and a mechanism rigged to release poison if particle decay is detected. According to Erwin Schrödinger, the cat exists in two probable states. But that doesn't track with reality (cats are not both alive and dead). Proposed in 1935, the postulate illustrates that some quantum concepts just don't work at nonquantum scales. Also that Schrödinger was a dog person. Borel's monkeys Variations go back to Aristotle, but the modern version of the infinite-monkey theorem was introduced in 1913 by French mathematician Émile Borel. You know the deal: An infinite number of monkeys pecking at typewriters for an infinite length of time will quot;almost surelyquot; produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Seems unlikely, because our minds have a hard time grasping the infinite. Mathematically, it's true. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide15
  • 16. Evaluation and Experimentation The Approach: The Scientific Method ? ! Sharing through lecture and publication Question based on observation My global research has indicated that ravens are always black, Every raven I've ever seen is black. Are all ravens black? wherever they are observed. Hypothesis we think is true. Verification by the scientific community All ravens must be black. Every raven any other scientist has ever observed in any country has always been black. Testing by observation or experimentation. Theory is formed regarding the hypothesis A random sampling of ravens from each continent where ravens are All ravens are black. indigenous produces only black ravens. The scientific method gives us a way to acquire knowledge that is focused on synthesis. Why? To understand the impact of creation. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide16
  • 17. Evaluation and Experimentation You were born to do research. Piaget likens a child to a ‘little scientist’ who must experiment with his/her world in order to understand its aspects and limitations. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide17
  • 18. Evaluation and Experimentation Let!s have a three evaluation lunch. Shaken not Stirred: Taste tests remain one of the most public examples of a casual evaluation outside of the scientific method. If you think about it we’re all constantly experimenting and evaluating things - it’s just part of life. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide18
  • 19. Alternative Approaches to Research Recycling your Research Traits of Recycled Research projects Viral Propagation Structuring Community Research Progression Rich Data Collection Organic Experimental Conditions Participatory Cost Model Implementation Details Target Installation Embedded (passive) information collection Local Data Collection Harvesting and Aggregation Analytic Tools Human Interpretation This produces a model that is closer to casual evaluation than to the scientific method. What are the problems of this approach? Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide19
  • 20. Pilot: Recycled Canvas Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide20
  • 21. Understanding Knowledge New growth in old forests. This Map of Science was constructed by sorting roughly 800,000 scientific papers into 776 different scientific paradigms based on how often the papers were cited together by authors of other papers. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide21
  • 22. Our Goals Knowledge Trees Knowledge Markets Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide22
  • 23. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide23
  • 24. Technology and Un-technology Social Impact of Technology Caffeine Tech In the 1500s Catholic bishops demonised coffee as quot;Satan's drinkquot; and urged a ban. It was competing with wine. In its defence, Pope Clement VIII proclaimed: “Why, this ‘Satan's drink’ is so delicious it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall fool Satan by baptising it and making it a truly Christian beverage.” Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide24
  • 25. Technology Targets Where does it go and why is it going there? The Target of Intervention is a psychology term, but its a good one. Why are we using certain technology? What does it say about who we are targeting, when, why. The how is important too, but later. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide25
  • 26. Technology as Tool Free Software and Open Culture Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide26
  • 27. Web Software Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide27
  • 28. Web Software Models of web apps Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide28
  • 29. Web 2.0 Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide29
  • 30. Social Software What software isn!t social? Software that gets you a hug firm handshake Software inherently should be about connecting people. The web is pretty good at this. You know social software Facebook, myspace, blogs, wikis, voting sites, bookmarking photos, videos, friends, family, history, connection. Other concepts you might not Foaf, social graph, intertextuality Does social only involve humans? Left - Flickr Graph Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide30
  • 31. Connecting Software See also: computer to human, computer Social is just human to human to computer, information to information Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide31
  • 32. Connecting Software Other connections for humans and machines Creative Commons for whom? See Also: Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide32
  • 33. Ye old Bloggers Professional Synthesists Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide33
  • 34. Web Revisited Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide34
  • 35. Alternatives Web as Vanity Fair Selfish Genes Personal Branding Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide35
  • 36. Process before Product Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide36
  • 37. Process oriented Approaches and Data Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide37
  • 38. Decision Making What tools, what problems, what answers? As we find ourselves with more and more powerful tools, we have more and more problems on how to choose what tools. The only problem we have to solve, however, is what problem to solve. Understanding Process as a decision making informer, allows us to get a better sense of what’s going on. Sometimes a transparency of process is all we need to solve a problem. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide38
  • 39. Looking at the Data Interpretation, Visualization, Relation What’s your computer made of, and where does it come from? Do you know? Should you know? Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide39
  • 40. Interpreting and Communicating Data Animation as Data Visualization Animating Understanding Just drawing things can be incredibly helpful. Data Visualization Kinds of Data Exhaust Data Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide40
  • 41. New Process Neat Techniques Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide41
  • 42. Human Computation To Quote Amazon, Artificial Artificial Intelligence The Sheep Market A collection of 10000 sheep created by workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Each work was paid two centers to 'draw a sheep facing left.' White Glove Tracking Internet users were asked to help isolate Michael Jackson's white glove in all 10,060 frames of his nationally televised landmark performance of Billy Jean. 72 hours later 125,000 gloves had been located. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide42
  • 43. Viral Propagation Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide43
  • 44. Commodity Components Cheap, powerful, flexible tools for everyone The wii-mote comes complete with bluetooth connectivity, accelerometers, a microphone, a speaker, the ability to store data, buttons, and force feedback. It’s a complete tangible toolkit. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide44
  • 45. Commodity Components Cheap, powerful, flexible tools for every someone Chumby is a something that targets itself more toward a developer do-it-yourself community. Linux + flash + wifi = widgets in the real world. Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide45
  • 46. Computational Evolution and Genetic Algorithms Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide46
  • 47. Computational Evolution and Genetic Algorithms Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide47
  • 48. Innovation Findingnew problems come from? Where do new Problems Introduction to Creative Synthesis Slide48
  • 49. creative synthesis llaborative Introduction to Creative Synthesis Project proj-101 Last Revised November 17th, 2007 Web: http://www.creativesynthesis.net/blog/education/introduction-to-creative-synthesis/