In domains where measures of utility for automatically-designed artefacts (or agents performing subjective tasks) are difficult or impossible to mathematically describe (such as ‘be interesting’), human interactive search algorithms are an attractive alternative. However, despite notable achievements, they are still designed around a specific search method, resulting in a lack of problem generality: applying a new search algorithm requires an excessive amount of redesign such that an altogether new interactive method is formed in the process. This leads to missed opportunities for human interactive methods to utilize the power of state of the art optimization algorithms. Here, we introduce for the first time a framework for human interactive optimization that is agnostic to both the search method and the application problem. Using 13 different search methods on 24 fitness functions commonly found in evolutionary algorithm benchmarks, we show that our approach works on the majority of tested applications: many of the search methods, provided with access to the fitness functions, performed no better than our framework, which employs surrogate human participants who act as less informed and erroneous representations of the fitness function. In this way, our framework for interactive optimization provides a scalable solution by facilitating the integration of numerous types of current state of the art or future search algorithms. Future work will involve generalizing this method to admit multi-objective optimization methods and validation with human participants.

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