Think You’re Good at Rock-Paper-Scissors? This Robot Always Wins

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Is nothing sacred? It appears robots have moved beyond beating us at bar games to dominating the sacred games of our childhood — in this case, rock-paper-scissors.

There is absolutely nothing you can do to beat this robot. Its 100% success rate comes from its ability to recognize which shape your hand is going to take in a single millisecond.

Is that cheating? Well, maybe, but the scientists at the Ishikawa Oku Lab at the University of Tokyo aren’t looking to scam people on the professional rock-paper-scissors circuit. Their main goal is to encourage high-speed human-robot cooperation — technology that could be helpful in disaster situations or war zones where robots have to quickly react to the actions of humans.

Right now, robots don’t interact very well with people in the real world. The fact that Honda’s robot, ASIMO, can move to the side when passing someone in a hallway is a good step forward, but it’s not enough. If we want robots working alongside us and taking care of the sick and elderly, they’ll need pretty quick reaction times to avoid accidentally injuring people.

For now, we’ll have to settle for watching robots beat us at kids’ games. I’m just glad I grew up in a time where children could play handball, freeze tag and MASH without fear of robot competition.

[via IEEE Spectrum]

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