Artificial intelligence “invents” alternative physics

An experiment conducted at Columbia University has shown that artificial intelligence is able to develop its own view of physics.

Can AI help us discover new physics concepts? This suggests a fascinating and promising experiment conducted by researchers at Columbia University in the US, Science Alert reports.

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Scientists from the Laboratory of Creative Machines sent videos of elementary dynamical systems to artificial intelligence: a pendulum, a moving spiral, a wind-driven jolt, a fire, etc. Next, the AI ​​had to answer a simple question, always the same for each video, in essence: What are the minimum and necessary basic variables that allow describing these systems with mathematical formulas?

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Importantly, as the authors of the Nature Computational Science paper say, the AI ​​had no “prior knowledge of the laws of physics underpinning these systems,” and so it analyzed the videos with a fresh, new “look.” .

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The first sequence represents an oscillating double pendulum that turns on four variables, the angle and the speed of rotation of each pendulum. The purpose of this experiment: To determine if the AI ​​is able to find these key variables or if it will suggest other variables. After a few hours of reflection, the verdict fell: “This phenomenon requires 4.7 variables,” the AI ​​concluded. A number very close to the known four, but it soon became clear that the variables chosen by the AI ​​had little to do with those that would normally be unanimous. Two of them correspond loosely to the angles of the arms of the double pendulum but the other two have remained a mystery.

Yes, there are alternative ways to describe the universe

«Nous avons essayé de corréler les deux autres variables avec tout ce à quoi nous pouvions penser: vitesses angulaires et linéaires, énergie cinétique et potentielle, et diverses combinaisons de données connues mais necherique a quiuréné le quiurén]This experiment.

However, despite its “strange” variables, artificial intelligence has shown that it is able to correctly predict the movements of the pendulum. Which made Boyuan Chen say, “We don’t yet understand the mathematical language you are using.” The same scenario repeated itself with the other sequences, opening up exciting areas of science.

Enthusiastic roboticist Hood Lipson, co-author of the article, is almost seeing an age-old dream come true: “I’ve always wondered if an intelligent extraterrestrial race discovered the same laws of physics as us or if they would develop a radically different approach.

This experiment provides the beginning of an answer: “Yes, there are alternative ways to describe the universe,” assures Hood Lipson. And artificial intelligence will undoubtedly prove to be an important partner in their discovery.

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