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Friday lecture by Jacob F. Sherson, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, AU

Citizen science games:probing the border between human and artificial intelligence

Info about event


Friday 4 November 2016,  at 14:00 - 15:00


Peter Bøgh Auditorium, Nygaard building, 5335-016


Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University


In this talk I will present the work of the citizen science platform, www.scienceathome.org , which through online games enables ordinary citizens to assist in solving research challenges in fields like quantum physics, chemistry, engineering, psychology, economics, and cognitive science. The games have been played by more than 150,000 people and results from the flagship game, Quantum Moves, have demonstrated that players exhibit superior problem solving abilities compared to state-of-the-art computer algorithms.

A unique feature of online computer games is the fact that they allow us to change the rules of the universe to make the impossible suddenly manageable. In games, players are at first puzzled by the strange rules of the games, but then gradually get accustomed to them and incorporate them into their preexisting intuition. This specially evolved “in-game intuition” can be extremely powerful as a tool for human problem solving. However, it only appears through careful design of the user experience.

We believe that the mechanism behind the player success is the human ability to rapidly form an intuition for novel challenges and turn this into heuristic strategies. In an interdisciplinary team of physicists, social, cognitive, and computer scientists we study systematically these processes of strategy formation and look for correlations with personal cognitive and physiological traits. The aim is to develop a more complete understanding of the complex processes of human problem solving. This has two potential implications: we learn more about what it means to be human and we might be able to develop novel paradigms of artificial intelligence utilizing smart use of little data rather than pattern recognition in Big Data.



Assoc. Prof. Jacob Sherson is an experimental physicist at Aarhus University specializing in quantum technology using ultra-cold atoms and non-destructive measurement. He is also director of the interdisciplinary AU Ideas Center for Community Driven Research bringing together researcher in physics, chemistry, didactic and cognitive science, psychology, economy, and business administration.

Host: Ira Assent