Could artificial intelligence systems eventually perform surgeries or fly planes? First, AI will have to learn to navigate shifting conditions as well as people do. Julian De Freitas and colleagues pit humans against machines in a video game to study AI’s current limits and mine insights for the real world.

You’ve probably never thought about all the split-second adjustments you make in a single day to perform different tasks. Wake up in a hotel room, walk into a library, sit behind the wheel of a car, or swipe up to access your phone apps. Each time, you automatically “self-orient” before you even begin a task, pivoting your perspective of where you are and what you can do as your environment changes.

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