Researchers working on artificial intelligence have taught a computer to create magic tricks.
They gave the computer the outline of a magic jigsaw puzzle and a mind reading card trick, as well the results of experiments into how humans understand magic tricks.
The system then created new variants on those tricks.
The magic tricks created are of the type that use mathematical techniques rather than sleight of hand or other theatrics, and are a core part of many magicians’ repertoires.
The tricks, details of which are published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, proved popular with audiences and the magic puzzle was put on sale in a London magic shop.
The card trick is available as an app called Phoney in the Google Play Store.
Co-creator of the project, Howard Williams at Queen Mary University of London, explains how a computer can aid trick creation:
“Computer intelligence can process much larger amounts of information and run through all the possible outcomes in a way that is almost impossible for a person to do on their own. So while, a member of the audience might have seen a variation on this trick before, the AI (Artificial Intelligence) can now use psychological and mathematical principles to create lots of different versions and keep audiences guessing.”
See the puzzle in action HERE.
Creation of tricks of this kind involve simultaneous factors such as the size of the puzzle, the number of pieces, the number of shapes appearing and disappearing and ways the puzzle can be arranged.
Something this complex is ideal for an algorithm to process and make decisions about which flexible factors are most important.
The mind reading card trick involves arranging a deck of cards in a specific way and identifying a card selected from the deck by using an Android app.
The computer was used to arrange the decks in such a way that a specific card could be identified with the least amount of information possible.
The program identified arrangements for the deck that on average required one fewer question to be asked before the card was found than with the traditional method.
The app simply avoids the magician having to remember the order of the cards.
See the card trick being played:
The jigsaw puzzle trick can be found HERE
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