Computational combinatorics vs heuristics

In most of the AI algorithms, it is often the case that you enumerate in some sort and search through all the possible states and check whether we are at the goal state or particular constraints are being satisfied for the different combinations of states. This pretty much looks like a brute force and doesn’t seem to be intelligent though it could solve a pretty huge number of problems because of computational power we are endowed with. There would be a hard upper bound to the kind of problems we can tackle because of the computational limitation.

To make the search more efficient and more directional, we try to use human thought up heuristics into the search algorithms to guide the search. This is the crucial part of Human-machine interaction, leveraging the benefits of computational power and accuracy to the uniquely human-like heuristic intuition.

But the main question is, could we ever be able to make a computer think up its own heuristics appropriate to problem domain to guide its search?

Another question, How do we come up with heuristics in the first place? Do we develop it by copying the practices of our peers and mentors through our experience in the domain? or did we develop an innate sense of what to do when in some regular day to day chore settings because of millions of years of evolution? Is the ability to think up right heuristics is what true intelligence is?

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