Researchers have taught a computer to perform complex card tricks

Computer performs card tricks better than human magicians

An artificial intelligence system capable of outsmarting humans by pulling sophisticated card tricks has been developed by UK researchers.

The team from Queen Mary University of London fed the computer with a large amount of data on how various magic and mind-reading card tricks work and how people understand them.

The program subsequently created completely new variations of the tricks using complex mathematical techniques and algorithms.

"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,” said Howard Williams, a member of the research team at Queen Mary University of London.

"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."

The main point, the researchers said, is that a human magician still can adopt these tricks and basically advance his or her craft with the help of the computer.

However, the researchers believe the technology could be used in other, more serious applications, advancing medical technology by creating devices that couldn’t be manipulated.

"Using AI to create magic tricks is a great way to demonstrate the possibilities of computer intelligence and it also forms a part of our research in to the psychology of being a spectator,” said Professor Peter McOwan, who also worked on the project.

"For example, we suspected that audiences would be suspicious of the involvement of technology in the delivery of a trick but we've found out that isn't the case."

The research has been published in the latest issue of the journal Frontiers In Psychology. Some of the computer-executed card tricks are available as an app called Phoney, from the Google Play Store.

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