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ISSN: 0974-7230

Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology
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Review Article

Deciphering the Enigma of Human Creativity: Can a Digital Computer Think?

Felix T Hong*

Department of Physiology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201 USA

Dedicated to the memory of the late Professor Michael E. Conrad of Wayne State University

*Corresponding Author:
Felix T Hong
Department of Physiology
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48201 USA
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: July 11, 2013; Accepted date: August 21, 2013; Published date: August 30, 2013

Citation: Hong FT (2013) Deciphering the Enigma of Human Creativity: Can a Digital Computer Think? J Comput Sci Syst Biol 6:228-261. doi:10.4172/jcsb.1000120

Copyright: © 2013 Hong FT. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


The objective of the present article is a) to explain humans’ high creativity in non-mystic and unambiguous terms, b) to evaluate the performance of problem-solving computer programs and c) to make suggestions about future designs of heuristics. Unlike many previous attempts in the past century, we sought inspiration from two sources that had been neglected or excluded from considerations by experts: artificial intelligence and introspections of a number of highly creative individuals, who confessed that they had a penchant for visual thinking. Simonton’s chance-configuration model was refurbished accordingly. It is now possible for the refurbished model to explain a number of outstanding puzzles that had eluded our predecessors: a) what intuition is, b) why creators had no idea about their source of inspiration even after the fact, c) a peculiar event happening at the discovery time, known as the “aha” phenomenon, d) a type of accidental discoveries known as serendipity. Moreover, the elusive concept of abduction advanced by philosopher Charles Peirce is actually visual thinking in disguise. Blessed with this new understanding, we could evaluate the performance of a number of problem-solving computer programs from a cognitive point of view. It turned out that the common thread that links human creativity and computer-based creative problem solving is heuristic searching. Recognizing that a digital computer must perform heuristic searching in a digital environment, which is not the most user-friendly environment to do so, we made suggestions about how to circumvent the restrictions without sacrificing the principles in future designs of heuristics.


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