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Texas A&M researchers using quantum mechanics to model human decision-making

They believe a quantum cognition framework could be really useful in the field of self-driving vehicles
Texas A&M Assistant Research Engineer Vinod Gehlot says quantum mechanics is well-suited to...
Texas A&M Assistant Research Engineer Vinod Gehlot says quantum mechanics is well-suited to describe the human cognition process.(KBTX)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 11:02 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Researchers at Texas A&M are using quantum mechanics in an effort to help self-driving vehicles model the human decision-making process.

Researchers say the mathematics of quantum mechanics is well-suited to describe the human cognition process. They’re working on an algorithm to model that.

Vinod Gehlot is an assistant research engineer working in the Texas A&M Department of Mechanical Engineering.

“What we are trying to do is also develop a mathematical structure to it so that we can get a deeper understanding of the human brain,” Gehlot said. “That can also lead to, for example, applications in autonomous vehicles and human-autonomy behavior.”

Gehlot says the human brain juggles numerous outside factors in the world around us before focusing on a single idea or action to make a decision.

”Quantum mechanics behaves the same way, right,” Gehlot said. “You have quantum processes which evolve on a unit sphere, and whenever you try to take a measurement, they snap and collapse to one point. And that phenomenon, we feel, ideally describes how the cognitive process behaves.”

Vinod says they believe this quantum cognition framework is really useful in the field of self-driving vehicles. Because obstacles and hazards on roads can be unpredictable and hard to process, especially when occupied by other human drivers, researchers hope to create a model that can figure out the exact time when to alert the system and tell a human operator to take over.

“You can’t have the human take over in a split-second. You’ve got to give the human some time to evolve and get the proper frame of reference,” Gehlot said. “This decision-making process between machine and humans, we believe, can accurately be meshed together with the quantum mechanical framework.”

The researchers say this technology is far from being ready for real world use, but Gehlot says they have already made both experimental and theoretical breakthroughs.

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