The Illusion Machine That Teaches Us How We See — Erika Klarreich in Nautilus on a Japanese mathematician whose program generates 3D models of visual illusions:
The human brain routinely throws away many possible interpretations of the visual data it receives from the eyes. Given the brain’s limited resources and its need to interpret visual data quickly, it can’t afford to entertain every bizarre interpretation—it simply goes for the explanation that seems most likely, based on its past experiences and built-in visual processing machinery. For the most part—though not always—this explanation comes close enough to reality for all practical purposes, says Susana Martinez-Conde, a neuroscientist at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, who runs the illusion contest with her colleague, Stephen Macknik. “It would be much more costly, from an evolutionary perspective, to be right 100 percent of the time”…. If robots do learn to see through evolution, they may inevitably be subject to the same illusions humans are.