Furor Rubik: seven lessons from the magic cube for the economy and innovation

Furor Rubik: seven lessons from the magic cube for the economy and innovation

In 1974 a young Hungarian architect and sculptor, Erno Rubik, was alone and bored at home. His parents had separated and his only sister had moved to another city to study medicine. It was then that he came up with the idea of ​​creating a three-dimensional puzzle, the “magic cube”, with the aim of teaching geometry to his university students. His invention would take a few years to reach the market to become, in 1980, the best-selling toy in history, with an unsuspected success for Rubik himself.

The data is in the autobiography of the inventor, published in Argentina this year by Backie Books for Penguin Random House, Rubik: the incredible story of the cube that changed our way of learning and playing. And, just as the device was used to teach the Hungarian architect, the 43 trillion possible combinations of the “magic cube” can be used to display an infinite number of ideas in the field of innovation and the economy.

“Due to the quantity and quality of data from the discipline, it is a unique field to analyze performance and productivity in humans,” says Marcelo Rinesi, a data scientist, who is conducting research based on statistics from the cubero world.

“There are very valuable lessons from the Rubik world to understand innovation processes at the frontier of knowledge”, adds Guido Dipietro, blockchain programmer and one of the best cuberos on the continent. What follows is a summary of seven lessons from the Hungarian invention for the economy and for innovation.

Alternative paths. Whoever has the South American record of 3×3 on average (the most popular cube) lives in the city of Santa Fe and this year he began to study Economics. Bautista Bonazzola tells LA NACION that he does not stop finding parallels in his two favorite areas of practice and study: “As in the economy, in cubes there are different paths to reach a resolution. And you also have to look for comprehensive recipes, because if not, putting together a single face can imply that the rest is disarmed, and the same happens with the economy ”.

Border improvement. How to continue advancing when one is already the best in what he does and there are no “tutorials” or advice from other people that are useful? In 2018, Dipietro was the fastest person on the planet to memorize a 3×3 to then execute it blindly (he determined the solution and saved it in his memory in just over six seconds on average). To continue improving, he got used to following this sequence: “Analyze the problem and understand it, simplify it (to one or several simpler ones), reason out a solution using only common sense and, if all else fails, go to people who may play a part.” of the process better than you”, says the programmer, who works at CoinFabrik, a Web3 solutions firm.

Paradigm break. One of the most complex modalities of this competition is that of the “challenge of the least amount of movements”, or “FMC”, for its acronym in English. There, the cube makers have an hour to analyze a mixture and write down the solution with the fewest possible movements on a sheet. It is an extremely difficult category that was revolutionized in 2018, when the Italian Sebastiano Tronto achieved his record of 16 movements using a new technique, known as “Domino Reduction”. In the Sudamericano in Brasilia, in July, the only one who used it was Dipietro and he won the Gold by a lot of difference with the second.

Humans versus machines. For Rinesi, the cube competition boom is a good example of how the fact that a task can be fully automated does not invalidate or diminish its interest as a competitive hobby. The same thing happens with chess: today the best player in the world is beaten by the software of a cell phone, and yet there have never been as many chess fans as there are today.

Democratization.In the Rubik world, a record in the World Cup in Korea (it will be done there in 2023) is worth the same as one in an open in Citadel or San Lorenzo. All tournaments validated by the World Cube Association (WCA) certify maximums. Leandro Martín López achieved his first world record in Megaminx, this year, in a tournament with 20 participants, on a Saturday morning in a UTN classroom, and surpassed it last week by almost a second difference in the “Buenos Aires Cubea”. This level playing field and the availability of a huge body of transparent and validated data convinced Rinesi that this is an ideal avenue for studying people’s performance. “It is a great example of globalized, post-AI cognitive activity that works to clarify and measure forms of cognitive reversal and, furthermore,

Surprises in mathematics. Due to its versatility and its almost infinite combinations, the cube lends itself, according to the director of the Data Science program at the UBA, Pablo Groisman, to rehearse questions and answers in mathematics. “We can explore issues related to chance, group theory and other areas of mathematics”, says Groisman, who in December publishes his popular book I give you a theorem (So Much Water).

Cognitive gym. Board games and brain teasers like the Rubik’s cube are a very good strategy to keep the brain in shape as one gets older, explains Julián Bustin, an expert in gerontology and psychiatry, from Ineco and Favaloro University. The key is to try different things all the time.

This year was explosive for the Rubik community in Argentina. Last weekend, the largest tournament in local history, “Buenos Aires Cubea”, was organized in Buenos Aires, with more than 120 entries, and on December 9 there will be a competition in Cariló. Quotas for these instances sell out online in minutes and cube importing stores, such as Speedcubingar or Octocubos, have never sold so many units to new entrants.

The zenith was the South American Championship in Brasilia, in July, where 13 Argentines competed against more than 200 Brazilians and swept all categories. There were Argentines on all the podiums and they won 10 of the 17 golds at stake, with 7 continental champions: the aforementioned Dipietro, Bonazzola and López and, in addition, Theo Goluboff (brought 7 medals), Manuel Gutman (world champion in resolution to blind), Federico Da Fonseca and Gael Lapeyre.

None of this figured in the initial calculations of Erno Rubik, who took three years to convince a manufacturer to go ahead with his idea, because everyone he consulted told him that it was too difficult a device, doomed to fail. Almost 50 years later, with millions of units sold worldwide and a growing community of “speedcubers”, the “magic cube” is still a box of surprises.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.