Daniel Kahneman writes in “Thinking Fast and Slow”: “Around 1960, a young psychologist named Sarnoff Mednick thought he had identified the essence of creativity. His idea was simple as it was powerful: creativity is associative memory that works exceptionally well. He made up a test, called the Remote Association Test (RAT), which is still often used in studies of creativity.
For an easy example, consider the following three words:
Can you think of a word that is associated with all three? You probably worked out that the answer is cheese. Now try this:
The first word that came to my mind after seeing the words “dive”, “light” and “rocket” was “night.”
This is obviously not the correct answer. It’s possible that my creativity is not exceptionally high, or it’s possibly that creativity, although undoubtedly a process that is dependent on associative memory, cannot be completely understood with a test like RAT.
The more interesting question is: does artificial intelligence have associative memory that works extremely well?