A team of researchers has taught a computer to create magic tricks with the assistance of artificial intelligence.The researchers at Queen Mary University of London gave a computer program the outline of how a magic jigsaw puzzle and a mind reading card trick work, as well the results of experiments into how humans understand magic tricks, and the system created completely new variants on those tricks which can be delivered by a magician. The magic tricks created were of the type that use mathematical techniques rather than sleight of hand or other theatrics, and are a core part of many magicians” repertoires. Co-creator of the project, Howard Williams asserted that computer intelligence could process much larger amounts of information and run through all the possible outcomes in a way that was 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 could now use psychological and mathematical principles to create lots of different versions and keep audiences guessing. The magic jigsaw involves assembling a jigsaw to show a series shapes, then taking it apart and reassembling it so that certain shapes have disappeared using a clever geometric principle. The mind reading card trick involves arranging a deck of playing cards in a specific way then, based on a few seemingly innocuous pieces of information from the audience, identifying a card that has been seen selected from the deck and using an android app to reveal the card on a mobile phone screen.
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 thecards. The study is published today in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.