Complexity, Neuroaesthetics, and Computational Aesthetic Evaluation
Human artistic creativity typically includes a self-critical aspect that guides innovation towards a productive end. It seems likely that truly creative computers in the arts will require a similar ability to make aesthetic evaluations. Attempts to build such systems, however, have so far mostly failed.
Part of the challenge is understanding the actual mechanisms that underlie aesthetics as experienced by humans. To date scientific progress towards such understanding has been incomplete. Nevertheless some useful contributions include suggested theories from the field of evolutionary psychology, models of human esthetics from psychologists such as Arnheim, Berlyne, and Martindale, various empirical studies of human aesthetics, and a growing literature in the nascent field of neuroaesthetics.
A common thread found in all of the above is the notion of complexity as applied to the aesthetic perception of art objects and events. It is suggested here that notions of complexity regarding art have lagged the new paradigms offered by complexity science, and that a more contemporary conception of complexity can integrate and improve older theories of aesthetics. This may be where the path to improved computational aesthetic evaluation begins.
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