A lot has been made about artificial intelligence recently. We saw Google’s algorithm AlphaGo best a professional player in the game Go. An AI can breeze through information at speeds we can only dream of. But there is one area the human mind is better. So far, at least. Intuition.

Jacob Sherson, an associate professor at Aarhus University, explains.

“We behave intuitively when we need to solve an unknown problem, whereas for a computer that is incomprehensible. A computer churns through enormous amounts of information, but we can choose not to do this by basing our decision on experience or intuition. It is these intuitive insights that we discovered by analysing the Quantum Moves player solutions.”

Here’s the game volunteers played.

We gamify everything from fitness to learning languages. Why not quantum physics? Try the games for yourself here.

AI tackle problems by scouring all known information. People approach it much differently. We use our intuition to guess solutions to hard problems. We avoid any solutions that we deem ‘bad.’ A computer tackles every solution equally and doesn’t stop until it finds the correct one. What the researchers at Aarhus University are trying to do is mesh the two. Combine our human intuition with an AI’s ability to quickly access troves of information.

“If we can teach computers to recognise these good solutions, calculations will be much faster. In a sense we are downloading our common intuition to the computer,” says Jacob Sherson.

And that’s what the researchers are doing.

The researchers compiled the results of 500,000 games into a visual ‘Mind Atlas.’ Each peak you see below is a solution. The areas marked with the red circle show where human intuition hit a solution. By teaching computers to learn by focusing on these areas, they can find better solutions quicker.

mind map AI

This work was made possible by gamifying the research. It’s amazing what happens when you make something fun.

“By turning science into games, anyone can do research in quantum physics. We have shown that games break down the barriers between quantum physicists and people of all backgrounds, providing phenomenal insights into state-of-the-art research. Our project combines the best of both worlds and helps challenge established paradigms in computational research,” explains Sherson.

If Sherson wants to solve all the world’s problems, incorporate their research into The Division. We’re already grinding. May as well be for a good cause. Make solving quantum physics problems the requirement for a new piece of gear, and we’ll have it done next week. And we’ll find shortcuts you never even thought of.

When I’m not playing Rocket League (best game ever), you can find me writing about all things games, space and more. You can reach me at alex@newsledge.com

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