DRMacIver's Notebook

Can a machine design?

Can a machine design?

Can a machine design? by Nigel Cross is an interesting paper about architecture (the real kind!) and its relation to automation. I found it via Adam Marshall Smith’s PhD thesis Mechanizing exploratory game design (truthfully via this tweet about it from Max Kreminski), which is an excellent thesis on mechanically assisted creativity (I must admit I skimmed the technical content as less relevant to me - I care about the meta more than I care about game design qua game design).

Most relevant quote for me:

Despite this apparently easy pace of interaction, all of the designers reported that they found the experiments hard work and stressful. They reported that the main benefit of using the “computer” was increased work speed, principally by reducing uncertainty (i.e., they relatively quickly received answers to queries, which they accepted as reliable information). I also tried a few variations from my standard experiments. The most interesting was to reverse the normal set of expectations of the functions of the designer and the “computer.” The “computer” was given the job of having to produce a design to the satisfaction of the observing designer. It immediately was apparent that, in this situation, there was no stress on the designer—in fact, it became quite fun—and it was the “computer” that found the experience to be hard work.

i.e. it’s much more fun to tweak a computer’s output than it is to be critiqued by one. An important observation for people in correctness research I think!