Artificial intelligence may sure sound powerful, but at the end of the day, humans are still better, specifically when it comes to solving quantum computing problems, a new study has found.

Humans can find solutions to difficult quantum computing tasks and can succeed in a situation where numerical optimization cannot, researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark discovered. To add to that, analyses show that humans are able to give out solutions that provide insights into optimization problems more profoundly and holistically.

That Thing Called Crowdsourcing

When humans solve extremely complex computation problems, they use intuitive and simple strategies to get a solution. Crowd sourcing (citizen science) or presenting scientific problems to non-experts, then comes into the picture as this is a way of putting the intuitive ability of humans to good use.

Gamification or the use of gaming elements in a non-game setup, may be effective in getting solutions from people. Examples of games that use crowd sourcing include EterRNA and Foldit — both of which have been helpful in studying proteins, RNA folding and neuron mapping.

Quantum Moves

In the new study, the Danish researchers developed a game called Quantum Moves, which aims to get solutions on quantum computing problems from humans.

"The big surprise we had was that some of the players actually had solutions that were of high quality and of shorter duration than any computer algorithms could find," says study co-author Jacob Sherson.

Although the game's purpose is to provide entertainment and finding solutions was the goal of the scientists, it also highlighted how humans are better than AI when it comes to quantum computing.

Go Humans!

Sherson says one of the most distinct abilities of humans is to forget and refine information. This comes in handy for the quantum computing world as problems are so complex that it will never be finished if very systematic attacks are endlessly applied.

Frank Wilhelm-Mauch from the University of Saarbruecken, which was not involved in the study, says the research is highly firm and the solution, definitely plausible.

Such findings shows that even if humans do not have the extremely advanced abilities of AI, they are still ahead of the game when it comes to intuition — a characteristic that computers cannot simply acquire.

Sherson says it is a bit encouraging to know that there are still problems in the world where humans are still on top of computer algorithms.

The study was published in the journal Nature on April 14.

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