Rubix Cube Solver

Posted by in Musings

Everyday, it seems computers and robots are continuing to encroach more and more upon on things that were traditionally reserved to human capabilities.  Some inventors just created a rubix cube machine that can take any randomly mixed up rubix cube and solve it seconds!  The video they show demonstrates the machine solved one cube in 5.35 seconds!  And did I mention this was built OUT OF LEGOS?!?!?  Granted the fastest human time record is 5.66 seconds, which is amazing in itself, it still shows another step machines have taken to surpass human abilities.  Remember when a computer beat a International Grand Master in Chess?!?

Now for anyone who knows how to solve the rubix cube, it really comes down to pattern recognition and using a specific combination of moves to solve the cube.  So theoretically it’s pretty easy…once you learn the concepts.  Thus in reality, solving of the cube isn’t as impressive as, say, the programming required for chess just because of the higher level of complexity.  But it’s impressive nonetheless.

Now admittedly this next tangent is a bit stretch even amongst tangets, but this rubix cube machine got me to thinking.  We believe that some things, such as the creating artwork, are too complex for the linear computational limits of computers. And yes, it’s true, computers are (currently) limited because of the linear logical progression.  Humans, on the other hand, are wired in a network that allow for an amazing level of cross talk, theoretically allowing for creativity.

I’ve had many a discussion with others that despite this clear difference between our ‘computational’ abilities, is it possible that computers only need to become faster to overcome this obstacle?  The more binary calculations a computer can make a second can allow for such rapid computation that it can, and will, mimic human thought.  The problem with this idea is that computers currently require a set of parameters to fulfill.  It does not have the ability to create spontaneous “thought.” A friend of mine was saying that for us to be able to make machines achieve this level of intelligence, we need to have a better understanding of how we as humans do that, and only then will we be able to program computers to do the same.

Anyways, I openly acknowledge this rubix cube machine doesn’t necessarily convey machines are any closer to conscious and creative thought, but it is proof they are getting faster and continuing to accomplish feats that were once reserved to humanness.  It’s a fascinating thought to consider, and I love thinking about it.  We’re decades away from artificial intelligence, but I think we’ll get their soon than we think…one rubix cube solver at a time.