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McCauley talks about creativity and then she talks about computers and then she addresses the question ""can computers create?"" Though her immediate answer is affirmative, a later statement -- ""One basic theory of this book is that creative use of computers will happen only if the people using them are creative"" -- is an apter conclusion to draw from the projects in computer graphics, filmmaking, choreography, music and poetry surveyed here. And judging from the art forms which can be sampled here -- that is, graphics and poetry -- it must be said that the results (particularly the author's own literary work combining a verbal frame with random number generation of words) are far from impressive, and the process closer to simulating than to creating a work of art. McCauley often seems to forget whether she is investigating creative human use of computers or the computers' own creative talents. She doesn't seem to understand the writers she quotes and she ignores the implications of her own analysis of computers' verbal limitations, and her closing generalizations on art and science sometimes sound like profundities generated by random choice. However the topics she covers provoke their own controversies, and the artists (?) she quotes are often articulate (Jesse Reichek who worked with IBM compares the program to a genetic code, and a long, informal interview with Bell Lab's Ken Knowlton and Lillian Schwartz provides some interesting glimpses of scientist-artist collaboration.) Those who are thus motivated to explore further are provided with names, addresses, book and film lists -- and unanswered questions to begin on.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1975
Publisher: Praeger