03/11/2004 15:27
posted 11 March 2004


William H. Calvin, "Cerebral Circuits for Creativity:
Bootstrapping Coherence using a Darwin Machine." Talk for Stanford and Redwood Neuroscience Institute (11 March 2004).
See also http://WilliamCalvin.com/2004/Stanford-RNI.htm

View Powerpoint slides via web pages (no audio)

William H. Calvin 
it's an image, you need to type it, not copy it (spam...)       
 University of Washington



The problem with creativity is not in putting together novel mixtures – a little confusion may suffice – but in managing the incoherence. Things often don’t hang together properly – as in our night­time dreams, full of people, places, and occasions that don’t fit together very well. What sort of on-the-fly process does it take to convert such an incoherent mix into a coherent compound, whether it be an on-target movement program or a novel sentence to speak aloud? The bootstrapping of new ideas works much like the immune response or the evolution of a new animal species — except that the neocortical brain circuitry can turn the Darwinian crank a lot faster, on the time scale of thought and action. Few proposals achieve a Perfect Ten when judged against our memories, but we can subconsciously try out variations, using this Darwin Machine for copying competitions among cerebral codes. Eventually, as quality improves, we become conscious of our new invention.  It's probably the source of our fascination with discovering hidden order, with imagining how things hang together, seen in getting the joke or doing science. 


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