Feminism and Procedural Content Generation: Toward a Collaborative Politics of Computational Creativity

Amanda Phillips, Gillian Smith, Michael Cook, Tanya Short. 2016. Feminism and Procedural Content Generation: Toward a Collaborative Politics of Computational CreativityDigital Creativity 27:1, 82-97.

Abstract

Games now inhabit a space where creativity is no longer centered around human authorship. The use of procedural content generation has been embraced by industry, academics and fans as a means for reducing labor cost, providing additional replayable content for players, investigating computational creativity in a complex and multifaceted domain and enabling new kinds of playable experiences. This incorporation of computational creative labor confuses authorship, labor politics and responsibility for rhetoric embedded in the procedures by complicating the way in which the computer is portrayed to users, researchers and other developers. We can apply feminist methodologies attentive to questions of difference and power in systemic structures in order to better understand each of these questions in turn. This article presents an analysis of the post-anthropocentric phenomenon of computer creativity within games, via a feminist analysis of procedural content generating algorithms, its role in game design and its public portrayal.

image credit: screenshot of The Conservation of Emily, a game by ANGELINA, an AI system created by Michael Cook

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