The new game called Miegakure is currently in development and if you’ve seen it I’m sure you’ll agree it’s pretty mind blowing. In the game the player can navigate a fourth dimension of space and is the first game to let people understand and interact with a 4D world.
New Scientist described this as “building games out of impossible physics”. Well what if playing these games will actually help us to comprehend the most unfathomable scientific puzzles, and truly understand and know how to interact with the fourth dimension? Wouldn’t it be remarkable if this game taught human beings how to see a world other than our own?
Perhaps this new 4D space game also has the potential to teach us in much the same way as we train artificial neural networks via the AI training technique called reinforcement learning (RL). One of the powerful things about RL is that the agent (or person) learns through conditioning their neural networks (or brain) based on signals received from feedback from the environment. Our senses are one form of feedback which then causes our brain to build mental models of the environment and its behaviour.
Human beings are very good at comprehending 3-dimensional or lower-dimensional problems. We struggle at higher dimensions or in spaces that are non-Euclidean. We find them to be abstract and counter-intuitive as it is difficult to relate it to our real-world experiences, i.e. it is abstract and relegated to the field of mathematics to explore.
Abstract things are the hardest things for us to do is to deal with - and this is what much of modern physics, such as quantum mechanics, is all about. Humans find quantum mechanical phenomena extremely counter-intuitive. The mathematics that the theory and experimental results describe defies all our naive classical expectations. This is so divorced from the reality of our experience in fact that the famous theoretical physicist, Richard Feynman is quoted as saying in 1967: “Nobody understands quantum mechanics.” If many of physics’ greatest challenges are beyond the intuition of our brains, perhaps we need to train our brains to learn and develop an intuition for quantum weirdness.
Modern AI techniques in computer science such as Deep Neural Networks are inspired by the mechanics of the human brain and reinforcement learning is inspired by behavioural psychology. It makes sense then to consider reversing this transfer of knowledge and apply computer science techniques to improve our own brains. Games and VR experiences of worlds with very different physical properties would help us educate future generations with reasoning powers well beyond that of today. The next Niels Bohr or Albert Einstein will likely emerge thanks to just such a programme.
Let’s use simulations to allow future humans to think beyond the perceivable physical world, and comprehend dimensions, universes and problems that underlay the fabric of reality. Perhaps its games like Miegakure that will trigger the next phase of human evolution. To develop and define a unified theory of physics we need to understand that our classically-trained brains can’t grasp it. To solve the problems that are ahead of us, future humans will need very different experiences from birth.