In 2018, a portrait painted by a computer was sold for $432,000. The algorithm that led to the creation of the portrait is loaded with data points from some 15,000 paintings created by artists from the 14th to the 20th century. At the fall of of hammer, the sale price astonished many.

This begs the question “Could artificial intelligence surpass human creativity?”

To answer that, cognitive neuroscientist Romy Lorenz said that it largely hinge on how creativity is defined by most of us. If it means looking for new ways on how to approach and solve a problem, then it’s already been achieved by the latest AI technologies.

As an example, DeepMind, a subsidiary of Google, has successfully created an AI algorithm than can solve complex board states of the Chinese board game Go. The AI was able to master new complicated moves and strategies in a matter of days that ultimately led to its victory against the world’s no. 1 ranked player.

Google puts it as creativity of finding new ways to solve a problem that the AI was not taught to initially.

On the other hand, Julian Togelius, a computer science professor, argues that a fully AI algorithm trying to create something without human inputs does not yield inspired results. He cites No Man’s Sky, a space exploration game, as a perfect example. The game can generate 18 quintillion AI-generated planets where players can to go to and explore. The world generation capability of the game is so powerful that a single player probably would not be able to visit every single planet in is his/her lifetime. Although considered as a masterpiece, the game is not an interesting play at all. There is something missing to the worlds created, which doesn’t enable players to be drawn in in a meaningful way.

In the end, as Dr. Lorenz would put it, true artistic creativity, as opposed to creative problem solving, can never be achieved by AI for the reason that artistic creation requires human inputs and perspective that machine do not have the capacity for.