Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock
But can it do Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock?
Boffins from Tokyo University's Ishikawa Oku Laboratory have devised a robot that always wins at rock, paper, scissors. The 'bot wins thanks to its use of multiple sensors that detect the shape a human rock, paper, scissors player's hand is about to form. Once the 'bot guesses at the human player's intent, it counters with a …
So what the robot is actually doing is waiting until it sees what shape it's opponent is forming, and then countering with a winning move. In a 'true' ie fair game of rock-paper-scissors, both players should only know what their opponent 'threw' after they have already themselves thrown.
There's a very simple way to test this - get 2 of these robots to play against each other. They will end up never playing because each robot is waiting for the other one to make a first move.
Suddenly I'm reminded of the Doctor Who episode "Destiny of the Daleks", in which the Daleks and the robotic Movellans encounter a similar problem...
DOCTOR: But suppose we were two computers controlling two great battle fleets, each one working perfectly logically to outmanoeuvre the other. Well, you're robots, you try it.
SHARREL: We're perfectly...
DOCTOR: Try it! Go on.
(The two Movellans come up with scissors and scissors twice, then stone and stone.)
DOCTOR: Ha! You see? You're caught in an impasse of logic. You've discovered the recipe for everlasting peace. Congratulations. I'm terribly pleased.
Surely in any kind of high-stakes scissors, paper, rock tournament, competing athletes would have to throw their shapes in isolation - perhaps with a barrier to neck height so they can still engage in the psychological aspects of the sport - with judges announcing the results, thus eliminating such cheating.
Either that or robots will always end up getting first go on the swings.
Still, it'll be fine. At least until they develop a robot that can play 'knuckles'.
Surprisingly, Japanese people use this game quite frequently - even adults. And they are all good at it.
Coins are never tossed; putting at a disadvantage those of us whose sis-pap-brick practice lapsed during childhood. So thumbs up to the robots for humiliating my humiliators. I wonder whether they deal with a tie in the usual way: "aikoudeshou". Playing another robot they might get into an endless tie-breaker.
I trust you will never rely on a medical procedure involving servo-controlled manipulation or optical image analysis or any of the myriad techniques this technology may be helping to advance. It could well prove to be valueless in this instance, but there are a whole lot of areas more deserving of your scorn than scientific research.
Are we going to get a re-telling of this same story every year now?
Could have saved a bit of server space by just posting a link to the article published last year.
Thought there would have been new information.
Turns out there wasn't.
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