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Robots Aim To Top Humans At Air Hockey

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the air-hockey-tables-suck dept.

Classic Games (Games) 177

An anonymous reader writes "You probably knew that the Deep Blue supercomputer beats chess masters, and that last weekend a software robot defeated four poker champions. But you may have missed this one: a GE Fanuc robot is taking on humans at air hockey. The robot is powered by a special PC-board that can instantly switch between 8-bit and its 32-bit modes. The 8-bit version lost to most human players, but the 32-bit microcontroller has defeated even the best human air hockey players by a ratio of three to one."

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The only real sport (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24124821)

I won't be worried until computers start to beat us at bear pong.

Re:The only real sport (5, Funny)

Spudtrooper (1073512) | more than 6 years ago | (#24124875)

How is a robot supposed to get a bear to stand still and open its mouth to throw in a ping pong ball?

Re:The only real sport (5, Funny)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 6 years ago | (#24124943)

Good thing you cleared that up, I thought it meant hitting a grizzly back and forth across a table.

Re:The only real sport (4, Funny)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125055)

if that was the case I'm sure robots would be able to beat us quite easily.

Re:The only real sport (4, Funny)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125451)

I don't know about bears and open mouths, but I'm sure the Japanese are working on a robot that can beat all human challengers at tonsil hockey.

Re:The only real sport (5, Funny)

Broken Toys (1198853) | more than 6 years ago | (#24124899)

Bear pong?

Squirrel pong, sure; monkey pong, any day; but bear pong? That's where I draw the line.

Re:The only real sport (2, Funny)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125793)

I won't be worried until computers start to beat us at bear pong.

Is that similar to beer pong, only more dangerous?

Re:The only real sport (1)

SiriusStarr (1196697) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125897)

Bah! There is only one true sport. I'll be concerned when robots can beat us at this. [slashdot.org]

Re:The only real sport (2, Funny)

durnurd (967847) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126351)

Bah! There is only one true sport. I'll be concerned when robots can beat us at this. [slashdot.org]

Or perhaps Brockian Ultra Cricket?

Re:The only real sport (0, Redundant)

wondershit (1231886) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125917)

I won't be worried until computers start to beat us at bear pong.

... or maybe at Chess Boxing [slashdot.org]

Re:The only real sport (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24126197)

And thanks for demonstrating the neurological effects of playing beer pong.

Actually, to be fair, it's very likely that similar malfunctions are also the cause of playing beer pong. Researchers originally thought that positive feedback was initiated by "pledging" a social fraternity/sorority, but it now seems most likely that "pledging" is itself but a symptom of a congenital defect.

The evolutionary advantage for the species is obvious: when defective organisms have a tendency to clump together and disable their higher cognitive functions en masse by imbibing excessive quantities of ethanol, then they can be easily eliminated through mass extermination.

However, there is associated risk: if extermination fails, the defectives may begin interbreeding, thus evolving a subspecies, supertards, which may begin undermining the species' broader social organization, due to the supertards' natural inclination for the lowest-skilled activities---business management, marketing, politics---which are, terrifyingly, activities with great potential for reducing the overall species' quality of life if not bounded and carefully monitored by more intelligent organisms.

The results of careless monitoring could be disastrous. In a "perfect storm" scenario, where the supertards are allowed to impress their opinions upon large groups via mass communication and positions of power, then humanity's classical value system could actually be inverted! Imagine, a world where sports, entertainment, and consumerism are deemed more important than science, philosophy, and art! Where responsibility is shunned, work avoided, and a sense of entitlement the rule! Where xenophobia is disguised as religion, and religion derided by faux-scientific antireligion! Where film actors, instead of being recognized as glorified circus clowns, are given society's highest respect & obsessive admiration! Where full-time sportsman, instead of being mocked for wasting their lives, are beloved "heroes" whose salary is greater than the aggregate salaries of entire university faculties! Where conspicuous consumption is a substitute for cultural tradition! Where public schools are run by political committees and unions! Where the front page of Yahoo! recounts last night's television schedule alongside news of war and natural disaster! I could go on, but why? You see the horrors we could face if the extermination of supertards were to be forgotten.

I certainly hope that never happens.

Re:The only real sport (1)

shackan (1207788) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126663)

i wish i had points right now

Re:The only real sport (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126225)

Computers can beat humans at games where the possibilities are finite.

For instance. Any decent programmer can make a tic-tac-toe game that is absolutely unbeatable. A robotic pool player of championship grade should be relatively simple (as game playing robots go).

Poker isn't actually that hard since so much of poker play is disguising the emotional reasoning behind your decision to fold, call or raise and if you raise by how much. Since a computer can consistently play in 10 2nds after the commencement of it's turn and will show no twitches, blushing, embarrassed laughter or any other signs of why it did something, it is impossible to read.

Couple that with a perfect understanding of the mathematics behind poker and the "skill" of a well written poker software starts to become impressive.

Re:The only real sport (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126277)

I must add that, the computer can be taught to "read", some aspects of it's opponent's play.

BTW: "2nds" should have "seconds". I need to reduce my dosage.

Boring... (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#24124833)

Show me a robot that can beat humans at real hockey. Then I'll be impressed.

Re:Boring... (4, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#24124953)

Do you really want robots out there who can check you into the boards and beat you in a fight?

Re:Boring... (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126759)

Yes.

Re:Boring... (4, Funny)

scottrocket (1065416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126765)

Only if they're fembots - ooooh

Re:Boring... (5, Funny)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#24124965)

I'll be worried when they can beat us at Dodge the EMP Blast.

Re:Boring... (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126383)

Um... I may be wrong, but I think a paraplegic could beat a robot at that, given that humans don't respond to EMP.

Re:Boring... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126779)

Whoooooosh!

Re:Boring... (1, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126713)

Well... Since the only way to generate a sizable EMP blast is a nuclear detonation, I would say that's a small comfort... :)

Re:Boring... (1)

elemnt14 (1319289) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125003)

They would make the best goalies. Although assuming both goalies can block 100% of shots, it would become an indefinite stalemate.

Re:Boring... (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125025)

How about a wall in front of the goal? Mission Accomplished!

Re:Boring... (2, Funny)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125139)

Or a game of soccer!

Re:Boring... (1)

kiwilake (1279808) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125303)

now a robot playing underwater hockey, that would be more impressive

Re:Boring... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126795)

Underwater hockey with a Roomba as the puck!

Re:Boring... (2, Interesting)

elemnt14 (1319289) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125375)

Although I agree that seeing hockey teams full of robots would be somewhat exciting (only to see them go up in sparks by a hard hit), I have to say that i personally would enjoy watching the sport with human players. Robots can not think for themselves (well, not yet anyway), so you would not see strategy that can change due to the changes on the field, or see some really great shots that only a human could pull off.

Show me a robot ... (2, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125431)

that wants to beat humans at air guitar. Then I'll be impressed.

Re:Boring... (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125543)

OK [aviationweek.com] .

Yeah, I'll grant it's not fully autonomous, but I guarantee you I can use it to beat you at a game of hockey.

Re:Boring... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125545)

I'd cite Strange Brew as a precedent, you hoser, but I guess those weren't actually robots.

Re:Boring... (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125977)

You mean, give the robot a stick and program it to violently assault its opponent?

Now introducing the 2008 GE/FANUC Thug-o-matic 5000!!!

Seems like this would be trivial... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24124845)

I read the article, and it didn't mention how physically strong the robot was. I bet even the best human players would have a hard time stopping a puck traveling in excess of 250 MPH.

Re:Seems like this would be trivial... (1)

thedrx (1139811) | more than 6 years ago | (#24124955)

They didn't really state it was unbeatable, just that it beats human players easily, most of the time.

Re:Seems like this would be trivial... (3, Informative)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125143)

They didn't really state it was unbeatable, just that it beats human players easily, most of the time.

Don't know which article you read, but:

So far, the robot has defeated every human opponent running in 32-bit mode, averaging three times as many goals as human players. The algorithm's success resulted from revising its strategy whenever a goal was scored against it. Some revisions were refinements of strategies, but others were outright fixes to bugs in tactics.

Re:Seems like this would be trivial... (4, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125417)

Depends on what you mean by `unbeatable'.

Humans can still score on it occasionally, so they're `beating' it in that sense. But overall, it still wins more than it loses.

Statistically speaking, if it averages 3x the score of it's opponents, a human should be able to beat it once in a while -- it just hasn't happened yet.

Re:Seems like this would be trivial... (1)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126457)

Humans can still score on it occasionally, so they're `beating' it in that sense.

That's like saying that Deep Blue isn't "unbeatable" because it still loses pieces during the match.

If you can't win a game, you haven't beaten it, despite scoring points.

Re:Seems like this would be trivial... (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126929)

Dude, the point of the game is not to score first, but to score more times.

if the most points you can score period is around 5, then you're fucked and it's unbeatable.

Re:Seems like this would be trivial... (1)

von_rick (944421) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125709)

They can even do a better Robot dance than humans when they score.

Futurama (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24124863)

Bender: Now, Wireless Joe Jackson, there was a blern-hitting machine.
Leela: Exactly. He was a machine designed to hit blerns.

Let be the 10th to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24124887)

I for one welcome our new Air Hockey dominating overlords!

Shufflepuck (2, Informative)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#24124907)

All I can say is:
"Good shot"

Re:Shufflepuck (1)

goatpunch (668594) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125583)

Thanks, Skip.

Re:Shufflepuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24125677)

They should call this robot 'DC3'

Re:Shufflepuck (1)

oever (233119) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125927)

Ah a great Amiga 500 classic.
DC3 [classicamiga.com]

Re:Shufflepuck (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126419)

Huh. I didn't know of it on the Amiga. I played it back in the day on a mac.

pfft eight bits to lose? (4, Funny)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 6 years ago | (#24124915)

I refuse to be impressed.

I can create a 2 bit air hockey robot that will lose to everyone but Butters!

Video (4, Insightful)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125001)

They could make a robot that beats human players at air-hockey but they were not able to make a watchable video or it in action? I guess it is all about specialization.

Re:Video (2)

darkhitman (939662) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125923)

I believe this story [kotaku.com] , which has a video, is about the same robot. And if not, close enough.

If this is'nt skynet.... (5, Funny)

TornCityVenz (1123185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125045)

This must be one of the best ways to get a research grant to pay for an air hockey table I've ever heard.

Robots also top humans at arm wrestling.. (5, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125047)

Honestly, it's not as if some robot is paintaing abstract art or writing poetry here.

Robots exceeding humans in strength and precision when designed to do so is not news, it's our technology "working as intended".

If they didn't exceed human strength or precision, i'd expect articles like "engineer blacklisted as incompetent for designing defective robotics"

Re:Robots also top humans at arm wrestling.. (3, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125843)

Yeah but if they created a working human like arm with the strength and reaction time of an average human and it still beat everyone in arm wrestling or air hockey, then I would be impressed. That kind of research would also be very useful for creating artificial limbs.

Re:Robots also top humans at arm wrestling.. (1)

spydabyte (1032538) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126787)

In other news, teenage members of the human race have been cutting off limbs to play better air-hockey in arcades across the nation.

Re:Robots also top humans at arm wrestling.. (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126843)

Prosthetic limbs don't need to be intelligent and play air hockey. They need to be strong and have good control, since the implication here is that a human operator will always be present (or more accurately, *attached*).

Re:Robots also top humans at arm wrestling.. (1)

daniel_newton (817437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125969)

yeah robots have been doing strength and precision for ages (think robotic assembly lines) but the cool thing about this project is linking robotic speed and precision with decent vision

Re:Robots also top humans at arm wrestling.. (5, Interesting)

nfk (570056) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126129)

"Honestly, it's not as if some robot is paintaing abstract art or writing poetry here."

You picked a couple of interesting examples; I'm sure robots could paint abstract art and write poetry that would match some of today's offerings by human beings. Anyway, I have no idea how complex it is to program a robot to play air hockey, and whether it involves only strength and precision, but there was an idea I read in a book by Douglas Hofstadter that I find amusing: artificial intelligence is always defined as whatever a machine cannot do yet.

More variables (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126321)

Figure out the trajectory of a disc amid of two round objects in a rectangular space isn't exactly amazing technology.

Talk to me when you can build something that knows the difference between me wanting fresh air and me needing oxygen.

I for one welcome... (2, Interesting)

gnosi (893875) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125075)

Oh that is just getting so old. In this context however it could become so real.

On to the real subject...

"If droids could think for themselves we would not be here"

The day is coming when most if not all the routine and skilled functions of life will be carried out better by robots than by humans.

The last bastion for the human mind will be pure abstract thinking.

I do not even pretend to know what that new day will bring to the meaning of mankind when computers become better than the human mind at pure abstract thinking.

--
It is all in the sig. The rest is just window dressing

Re:I for one welcome... (1)

rugatero (1292060) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125213)

I for one welcome... Oh that is just getting so old.

I do not even pretend to know what that new day will bring to the meaning of mankind when computers become better than the human mind at pure abstract thinking.

They'll probably devise some new memes.

Re:I for one welcome... (4, Funny)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125325)

I for one welcome our meme-devising robotic overlords.

Re:I for one welcome... (2, Interesting)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125407)

That's what's commonly called a "singularity". A point that changes things so much that it's impossible to predict its effects with any certainty. Depending on how we handle things, it could be a violent occasion worthy of a large-budget action sci fi movie, a quiet fade and disappearance of humanity, or a metamorphosis of humanity into a new form. Or it might not ever happen. *shrug*

Re:I for one welcome... (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126479)

So, by this definition, wouldn't it be a "singularity" for most /.ers to establish a relationship with a member of the opposite sex?

Re:I for one welcome... (2, Insightful)

notnAP (846325) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125567)

I do not even pretend to know ... when computers become better than the human mind at pure abstract thinking.

QED?

smarter or faster? (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125079)

The article hints at both, so it's hard to tell if the robot's true advantage lies in being able to analyze the puck's path more quickly than the human players, or is the robot arm simply faster/more powerful/more accurate than a human arm? If the former, then that's pretty cool. But if it's the latter, well heck, I can hop in a car and drive faster than an Olympic runner, but I don't write articles about it.

Re:smarter or faster? (1)

TornCityVenz (1123185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125165)

Sounds to me like the critical factor was paitence. The robot plays deffensivly. Most human players will go for a score on most shots.

Re:smarter or faster? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125225)

Better tactics. The robot is better at predicting the puck and where to hit it. It also plays very defensively. Combine that with high speed and accuracy, and the bot is a winner.

In fact, the only reason it loses in 8 bit mode is it can't calculate the position of the puck fast enough to always catch it.

Smarter and faster (2, Informative)

dj245 (732906) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125297)

Probably both. These microcontrollers are designed to calculate corrective action (often very small actions) to processes (such as pipe flow rates, temperatures, etc). When a process deviates from the setpoint, the microcontroller is supposed to calculate the correction (increase control output X slightly). I would say something like this would require some custom coding for the controller, but nothing too crazy. One of the harder parts would be coming up with a good input data method and formatting the input sensor data, since this is a slightly odd application for ths controller.

as an aside, the automation and control business is still a growing market, and they can never find enough engineers. Many of these jobs involve high travel if you're into that sort of thing.

Re:smarter or faster? (2, Informative)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125341)

it's hard to tell if the robot's true advantage lies in being able to analyze the puck's path more quickly than the human players, or is the robot arm simply faster/more powerful/more accurate than a human arm? If the former, then that's pretty cool.

Why? It's a game where the puck is operating in a near frictionless environment. Hence, the speed can be computed as if it is linear. Of course a robot can more precisely measure time between samples and the location of an object on a fixed plane. So, the calculation of a puck's path had better be more impressive than a human player's.

Re:smarter or faster? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24126203)

Sorta like creating a pong game and having it be cpu vs cpu with the paddle always having the same elevation as the ball. It is pretty pointless. Computers can do things faster and more accurately than us? GAH! We're all done for!

All that effort... (1)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125101)

And the video they post is like watching a slideshow!

Terrible video... (1)

AllIGotWasThisNick (1309495) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125127)

I'd like to congratulate the genius who chose to shoot fast-action footage on an unmounted low-quality camera. It reminds me of some UFO footage I've seen.

Re:Terrible video... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24125659)

Seconded. The "video" is a new level of horrible. I've taken better footage with my cellphone.

Can this be a good idea? (5, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125147)

First they're beating us at chess, then at air hockey... pretty soon they're rolling around yelling "EX..TER..MI..NATE", disintegrating us, and avoiding staircases.

This is how the human race ends, mark my words.

(Yeah, I know, the Daleks are supposed to be cyborgs. Roll with it, it's supposed to be a joke.)

Re:Can this be a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24125361)

But, if there's one thing I've learned from BSG, it's that they'll never be able to do a good rendition of "All Along the Watchtower"...

Re:Can this be a good idea? (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126241)

Mutant cyborgs. From outer space.

Not impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24125155)

I'm not impressed. Despite years of playing supposedly hand-eye-coordination improving video games, I'm still better equipped at writing an algorithm to play air hockey than I am at actually doing it.

Computer needed at all? (3, Funny)

CthulhuDreamer (844223) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125197)

Wouldn't just setting the arm to oscillate in an arc in front of the the goal at a few thousand rpm make scoring against it impossible? (Not to mention the 200mph random rebounds coming off a blocked shot?)

Re:Computer needed at all? (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126585)

That's why I stopped playing. I hit a puck so hard it broke the tip of my pinky finger sideways. It then rebounded off my finger to make a very interesting (and sadly hilarious) sound off some poor little girl's head.

Playing a robot? Riiight. I give it a week before the emergency room staff is removing a puck from somebody's face.

Unrealistic Competition (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125237)

Both the robot an the human should be drunk to be truly representative of regular air hockey.
Beyond that, I say: "Just wait until the foosball competition you 32-bit tin can!"

Re:Unrealistic Competition (5, Funny)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125335)

I don't think I'd want to play foosball against a robot. Imagine how hard a robot would be able to jam the pole into your junk when he grabbed the wrong handle.

Re:Unrealistic Competition (1)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126505)

It's times like this when I really wish I had mod points left.

Easy to understand (1)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125255)

Get puck position Get puck position Get puck vector Repeat

Re:Easy to understand (1)

Benbrizzi (1295505) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125707)

Get puck position Get puck position Get puck vector Repeat

Add a PID regulator and a bit of extrapolation and you got it :) The most complicated part is probably the quick image analysis and getting the money for that high speed high precision robotic arm.

Only the start. (1)

unleashedgamers (855464) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125331)

Air hockey is only the start to robots domination of our world!

I for one welcome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24125471)

I for one welcome our new air-hockey playing robotic overlords.

(There, somebody said it.)

One BIG Paddle (1)

VoxMagis (1036530) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125513)

That's all the robots need...

I want such a Thesis topic (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125525)

That's a great idea. I am picking my masters in mechatronics thesis. Does anybody have any similar ideas.

G

mod Down (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24125531)

Am I the only one who wants to take it on? (5, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125603)

I would love to see this in an arcade. I'd pay a dollar to play the arm - bring on the 32bit mode! If they could make the arm fold itself out of the way while two people are playing, this would make an excellent arcade machine.

What's more, if the arms were standard and mass-produced, there's a great excuse for a little coding competition: Whose program will win when it's robot v. robot?

Lots of cool AI, artificial learning and computer vision would go into it, and the result would no doubt be fun to watch!

man vs printer (1)

waveformwafflehouse (1221950) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125631)

Anyone have the time to make one out of an inkjet printer and a webcam?

8-bit v. 32-bit (1)

scaryjohn (120394) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125665)

This explains why I could always win when I played the computer on my Nintendo, but always lost when I played my Pentium desktop.

The real battleground will be 16-bit, I guess. Warm up that old Sega Genesis.

Re:8-bit v. 32-bit (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 6 years ago | (#24125893)

The Sega Genesis actually had a 68000 microprocessor so it can do 32-bit math.

Re:8-bit v. 32-bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24126539)

A one-bit computer can also do 32-bit math. Just slower.

Re:8-bit v. 32-bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24126959)

how do you handle the carry-over? =P

Challenge! (1)

sudden.zero (981475) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126055)

I challenge our new "Robot Air Hockey Overlords" to a duel! I am yet to be defeated at a game of air hockey on a regulation size table.

Yeah, and? (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126107)

It's pretty easy to figure out what competitions a machine will be better at than a person.

Chess: Really hard to make a machine that can beat a person. And it takes quite a machine. Why? The game is entirely mental. And computers are really dumb. But we can make them be really dumb really fast, so we eventually pulled it off.

Poker: It's almost cheating for a machine here. Much of the game is based off of your opponents meat-weaknesses and reading their hand from their faces. The computer doesn't have a face and is using pure probability. Even the best poker player cannot read them. So unless they're better at math than a computer and and their poker prowess isn't based on reading people, they're never going to win. It takes the game out of the game really. The perfect odds playing machine against the perfect odds playing player would come out even.

Air hockey: It's mostly about physical speed. [sarcasm]Shockingly, machines are faster than people.[/sarcasm]

Facial Recognition: We win, and I'd wager we will for a while. Machines still get fooled by magazine covers [slashdot.org] . Next up, multiple cameras for 3D recognition! Foiled by a mannequin head or some random person paid to pose for the cameras.

Sex: I'm pretty sure we're still better at it. Sure, you can get some machines to give you an orgasm, but I don't think there are very many people that wouldn't rather go for a roll in the hay with a real person.

better uses (3, Funny)

zazelite (870533) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126443)

Good work, GE boffins. It warms my cockles to see our best minds conquer one more idle pastime that robots hadn't already been programmed for. When the Japanese finally achieve their ultimate goal of an android with functional genitals, those air-hockey robots will be left playing with themselves.

First Air Hockey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24126753)

Then, the world.

Easy? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#24126879)

Wouldn't a dumb mechanical arm that rapidly moves the pusher left and right in front of the goal be unbeatable?

Just move the pusher fast enough, and it's impossible to get the puck in. If the puck is going fast enough to be able to get in before being hit away by the pusher, the puck will be going fast enough to be airborne.

Eventually, the human will lose.

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