The April 2006 issue of Popular Science reports that John Koza’s:
1,000 networked computers don’t just follow a preordained routine. They create, growing new and unexpected designs out of the most basic code. They are computers that innovate, that find solutions not only equal to but better than the best work of expert humans. His “invention machine,” as he likes to call it, has even earned a U.S. patent for developing a system to make factories more efficient, one of the first intellectual-property protections ever granted to a nonhuman designer.
Using evolutionary algorithms, Koza’s machine is able to produce technological improvements without violating patents filed by others. In the near future, this technology may have an impact on creative processes:
The machine has inspired a new way to think about our own creative process: Perhaps extraordinary thinking is simply the product of gradual refinements and serendipitous recombinations. Darwin’s combination of mutation, sex and selection creates not just new species, or antennas: It spawns creativity itself.
Koza’s computers show a promise of contributing to an innovation-based society, but can they outperform humans?