Hi Patrick, I saw you speak at O’Reilly last week – fantastic talk, albeit at times very cerebral…
Christina Durbin

Hi Christina,

Thanks for coming to my talk!

  • Should the tool be creative?

I think the tool should support our creativity and should be creative in how it does so.

  • Should the tool know the rules of the design domain?

In order to support our creativity, this seems inevitable in one sense or another. But “knowing the rules” can mean many different things. Conventional software knows the rules in the sense that it is the direct embodiment of them. Human and machine learners know rules in a more intuitive sense, having learned to approximate them from experience.

  • Should the tool know when to break those rules?

A key component of knowing the rules intuitively is the capacity to break them. It’s virtually impossible to state the “rules” that define the appearance of a human face concretely in the form required by conventional programmatic logic. To identify a human face, you need to treat the rules as approximations. If we can build tools that creatively support our creativity, I think it will be necessary for these tools to deviate from any exact mechanism. They will need to follow some form of intuition. Part of our job will be to teach them how to break rules in a manner that is useful to us. As Bob Dylan said, “to live outside the law, you have to be honest.”

That’s how I see it anyway. What about you?