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Robot Hand Beats You At Rock, Paper, Scissors 100% of the Time

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the we-have-outlived-our-usefulness-as-a-species dept.

Japan 225

wasimkadak writes "This robot hand will play a game of rock, paper, scissors with you. Sounds like fun, right? Not so much, because this particular robot wins every. Single. Time. It only takes a single millisecond for the robot to recognize what shape your hand is in, and just a few more for it to make the shape that beats you, but it all happens so fast that it's more or less impossible to tell that the robot is waiting until you commit yourself before it makes its move, allowing it to win 100% of the time."

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225 comments

Welcome! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464351)

I for one welcome our new robotic overlords.

But to truly test it you have to add lizard and spock

Re:Welcome! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40465521)

Can it win 25-way Rock, Paper, Scissors, Gun, Dynamite, Nuke, Lightning, Devil, Dragon, Alien, Water, Bowl, Air, Moon, Sponge, Wolf, Cockroach, Tree, Man, Woman, Monkey, Snake, Axe, Fire, Sun?
http://www.umop.com/images/rps25_outcomes.jpg [umop.com]

Cheater. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464353)

So it cheats.

Re:Cheater. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464503)

So it cheats.

It's just employing High Frequency Rochambeau strategies

Re:Cheater. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464523)

I think it's probably inspired by recent research that showed unambiguously that people who are good at janken/rock-paper-scissors achieve their success by throwing as late as possible, observing the opponent's hand to see what gesture is going to be made.
Talk about reading people's faces / moods / history is mostly bullshit. Although computer software tends to abuse our human non-randomness in this way, it is in practice intractable for most humans. And the best janken players rely solely on the same strategy this robot's using.
But then, if you didn't want to be cheated, you shouldn't play a game where cheating is pretty much the only way to consistently win.

Re:Cheater. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464591)

So it cheats.

That's the only way to win a game of chance 100% of the time...

Re:Cheater. (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40464645)

So it cheats.

That's the only way to win a game of chance 100% of the time...

If it really is a game of chance then there is a possibility that someone will win it 100% of the time.

Re:Cheater. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464673)

There's also a chance my body transcends through a solid wall.

Realistically, it's bullshit.

Re:Cheater. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464733)

That all depends on how many rounds you do.

1 round guarantees someone'll win 100% of the time 100% of the time.

Re:Cheater. (-1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#40465511)

That all depends on how many rounds you do.

1 round guarantees someone'll win 100% of the time 100% of the time.

Maybe you need to retake Statistics 101. Just sayin'.

Re:Cheater. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40465279)

That depends on what you mean by "100% of the time".

If you mean every time they play, and assume they play in perpetuity, then no, there is no possibility that they will win 100% of the time. As the number of trials approaches infinity, the win percentage approaches the expected value of each trial; that is, their win rate will approach 33% [wikipedia.org]. The probability of the win rate staying at 100% is zero.

The probability of maintaining a perfect fun over even a small sample like 30 games is about 5.0 e-15. We could be pedantic and still say "there is a possibility", but in practical terms, the sun would near the end of its life before anybody on this planet achieved it.

(This all assumes of course that it's purely a game of chance and not subject to bias / cheating.)

So really, your statement is wrong, unless you limit it to a tiny sample size, in which case it's meaningless.

Re:Cheater. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464697)

No. It always plays rock. And if you pick paper, it punches a hole in your hand.

Re:Cheater. (0)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40464795)

which is exactly why I don't play rock, paper & scissors. it's a game of who's the better cheater - if both are dishonest, if not then it's a game about if one player is dishonest or not. you want random, there's plenty of other ways to do it, throw a coin or something.

Re:Cheater. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40464929)

RPS is typically used when randomness is desired, but no convenient coin or other tossible fair object is to hand.

Re:Cheater. (1, Interesting)

MickLinux (579158) | about 2 years ago | (#40465237)

Open a book, take the even page number, divide by 2, and then the modulus vs. however many options you want.

Re:Cheater. (5, Funny)

Waldeinburg (737568) | about 2 years ago | (#40465489)

Which of the following is most likely to be on hand:
  • 1. A coin
  • 2. A book
  • 3. A hand

(The answer is of course: 4. A smartphone with a head-or-tails app.)

Re:Cheater. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40465291)

I don't play it competitively or anything - do people actually do that?

I do it with friends when deciding who gets the better part of some deal. If my friends would go to all of the effort just to make me be the one to go downstairs and pick up the pizzas, clearly I've chosen my friends poorly.

yes but... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464357)

Can it beat Sheldon at rock, paper, lizard, spock, scissors? ;)

Re:yes but... (2)

enickel (2318084) | about 2 years ago | (#40465009)

Sure, but it's Japanese so it keeps freaking out and yelling about Godzilla whenever lizard gets played....

Meh (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464369)

But what if we add lizzard and Spock into the equation?

Simple to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464371)

This is really simple to do from a technical point so what's the merit? They found have made a cheating robot able to win a stupid game?

Re:Simple to do (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | about 2 years ago | (#40464743)

This is really simple to do from a technical point so what's the merit?

very quick visual recognition of 3d objects via has no merit?

Re:Simple to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464799)

very quick visual recognition of 3d objects via has no merit?

I'm pretty sure that had a better algorithm than "has no merit".

Only 1ms (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464373)

Takes only 1ms to get first post.

BTW, that's cheating.

So it cheats. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464381)

The whole point of RPS is that you don't know what choice your opponent will make, you are just guessing against their patterns. Looking at the other players hand is considered cheating. I wonder how often it would win with blinders put over it's camera.

inferior (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#40464397)

already been tested 10^36 so it won't observe me. I've got too many hand movements to beat this.

Re:inferior (3, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#40464461)

rapidly moving your hand up and down about an inch doesn't count

Re:inferior (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40464655)

I've got too many hand movements to beat this.

rapidly moving your hand up and down about an inch doesn't count

That's what he meant by "beat this".

Overlords (0)

darhand (724765) | about 2 years ago | (#40464403)

I for one, welcome our overlords in rock, paper and scissors :)

The real reason the robot wins: (5, Funny)

itsdapead (734413) | about 2 years ago | (#40464467)

Complete rules for robohand v. human rock, paper, scissors:

Robohand crush rock.

Robohand bend scissors.

Robo-laser burn paper.

Puny humans no match for robohand.

Re:The real reason the robot wins: (1)

GodGell (897123) | about 2 years ago | (#40464691)

LMFAO (no mod points, so it had to be said.)

Puny humans no match for robohand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40465187)

I for one welcome our new robohand overlords.

Finally, the greatest accomplishment of humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464415)

Is within sight. Next year Michael Bay will make this into a movie where everything explodes and there's no plot, and humanity will be complete.

Sure it beats me in rock-paper-scissors (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464417)

But will it stand a chance in rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock?

Shed some light (4, Informative)

el_flynn (1279) | about 2 years ago | (#40464443)

Here [u-tokyo.ac.jp] is the original article, excerpt: "Recognition of human hand can be performed at 1ms with a high-speed vision, and the position and the shape of the human hand are recognized. The wrist joint angle of the robot hand is controlled based on the position of the human hand."

Here [u-tokyo.ac.jp] is a link to a video showing what it can do.

And now, the obligatory comment: I, for one, welcome our robotic rock-paper-scissors-playing overlords.

Good Ol' Rock (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464449)

Good ol' rock. Nothing beats that!

Can you psych it out? (1)

Debian Cabbit (412271) | about 2 years ago | (#40464455)

What if you moved without trying to observe it, like quickly open your hand like paper as your hand comes down, then immediately close it into a fist?

Re:Can you psych it out? (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 2 years ago | (#40464651)

It's well possible that once the robot is set up someone can learn to mislead it and turn 100% loss into 100% win.

Re:Can you psych it out? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40464939)

An obvious improvement would be for the robot to recognise that it has been beaten using this method and fall back to the pure-random method, against which strategy is useless.

Re:Can you psych it out? (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 2 years ago | (#40465137)

That would be a fallback strategy yes. The trick I was thinking about was to give the robot enough cues to make it decide, and then change the hand movement. Of course this requires that the robot isn't allowed to change its mind after it's decided.

Re:Can you psych it out? (4, Interesting)

mcavic (2007672) | about 2 years ago | (#40464781)

How about if you pair two of these robots against each other? Deadlock?

Re:Can you psych it out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464879)

that would work. but they would need to share a Mutex

Re:Can you psych it out? (4, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40464955)

Deadlock: Neither would move until it can determine the intent of the other, which won't be detectable until that other has started to move. So they'd both just wait for the opponent to go first.

A Doctor Who classic episode actually used this theme, with two androids playing RPS against each other. As both AIs were written using the same algorithms, they derived exactly the same strategy in an attempt to predict each other's moves... and every round was a draw, as they always threw the same. The game was played to show why they had sought the Doctor's help in ending an android/Dalek war: As both sides were using computers of near-identical design to determine their actions, every move either side made was preempted and countered by the other to the point that no successful attack could be executed and the war was locked in unbreakable stalemate.

Re:Can you psych it out? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#40465347)

Deadlock: Neither would move until it can determine the intent of the other, which won't be detectable until that other has started to move. So they'd both just wait for the opponent to go first.

A Doctor Who classic episode actually used this theme, with two androids playing RPS against each other. As both AIs were written using the same algorithms, they derived exactly the same strategy in an attempt to predict each other's moves... and every round was a draw, as they always threw the same. The game was played to show why they had sought the Doctor's help in ending an android/Dalek war: As both sides were using computers of near-identical design to determine their actions, every move either side made was preempted and countered by the other to the point that no successful attack could be executed and the war was locked in unbreakable stalemate.

Rock paper scissors tardis?

a bit misleading (4, Informative)

oakbox (414095) | about 2 years ago | (#40464465)

Being faster? That's just cheating. On reading the headline, I thought they had developed an algorithm that predicted your next move, which would have been much more impressive. You DO get a ~40% improved chance of winning with this strategy:

When your opponent loses, his next move will be to beat whatever your move was on that round.

move 1) opp: rock you: paper # opponent loses to paper, so his next move will be to win over paper
move 2) opp: scissors you: rock # opponent loses to rock, so his next move will be to win over rock
move 3) opp: paper you: scissors # opponent loses to scissors, so his next move will be to win over scissors
etc.

It's self-reinforcing because after losing several throws in a row, opp becomes frustrated and less analytical, making it harder for them to see the pattern they are developing. :)

But that isn't absolute prediction, that's just playing on your opponent's human instinct. The robot hand isn't predicting anything.

Re:a bit misleading (4, Insightful)

CSMoran (1577071) | about 2 years ago | (#40464817)

When your opponent loses, his next move will be to beat whatever your move was on that round.

I'm sorry to say that, but you must have been playing really dumb people.

Re:a bit misleading (1)

gronofer (838299) | about 2 years ago | (#40464889)

Cheating? Where in the rules does it say that this isn't permitted?

Re:a bit misleading (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40465213)

Cheating? Where in the rules does it say that this isn't permitted?

Page 17, paragraph 2, third sentence: "Therefore, cheating by any participant is strictly forbidden."

Have you ever bothered to read the rulebook?

Re:a bit misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464937)

It is easily provable that there is no way to win at rock-paper-scissors 100% of the time without cheating, so I don't see it as terribly misleading.

Re:a bit misleading (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40464971)

Unless your opponent also knows the technique, in which case they will recognize it and counter... thus beating you every time, unless you also realize what they are doing.

Re:a bit misleading (1)

million_monkeys (2480792) | about 2 years ago | (#40465307)

I use an alternate strategy, but it relies on my opponent not knowing that we are actually playing rock, paper, scissors, sucker-punch.

Re:a bit misleading (1)

million_monkeys (2480792) | about 2 years ago | (#40465331)

Being faster? That's just cheating. On reading the headline, I thought they had developed an algorithm that predicted your next move, which would have been much more impressive. You DO get a ~40% improved chance of winning with this strategy:

When your opponent loses, his next move will be to beat whatever your move was on that round.

This obviously relies on playing multiple rounds in a row against the same person. I never play RPS, but isn't the point to play it once to make a one off decision about something? If so, your strategy is useless.

uh oh (1)

Necroloth (1512791) | about 2 years ago | (#40464471)

now more people will realise my secret superpower.... high speed vision...and the others at the Academy mocked me!

What would happen... (5, Interesting)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 2 years ago | (#40464485)

... If you pitted 2 of these machines against eachother?

Re:What would happen... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464519)

They would soon shutdown as their batteries went flat waiting for the other robot to make its move.

Re:What would happen... (2)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#40464607)

I imagine it would become like high frequency stock trading, with the faster system winning by being able to stick to neutral to the last microsecond (or whatever) and then deciding based on the other robot's hand. With 2 identical systems, in a perfect setup, they would both see the other side as rock, switch to paper, and tie, I guess. Of course, start and other timing is probably off by enough that one side will have an edge.

To me, a wall between the two and a judge would make it more interesting, just to see it a robot can be programmed that will anticipate a human's choice based on past behavior and just how much an edge it can get. Just thinking of myself trying new passwords, I'm not terribly good at being random, hence using a generator, but that may be unique to me. The way this seems to be done is okay, but it's no news to me that computers are faster at these type of things.

Re:What would happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464723)

Except they wait for the other to start showing a hand. So nothing would happen. Also you can't switch hands in this game.

Re:What would happen... (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 2 years ago | (#40464945)

No. Waiting = Rock. Automatically. They would both wait, play rock by default, and then both respond to play paper. It would probably be a draw all the time, but the games would proceed as quickly as in the movie.

Re:What would happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464617)

Nothing would happen. They'd both would wait for the other to start.. that is to pull the hand up.

Re:What would happen... (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#40464647)

Nothing will happen as they both wait for the other to make the first move. Because that's how they cheat: wait for the human hand to make a move, and react to that.

Re:What would happen... (1)

foksoft (848194) | about 2 years ago | (#40464739)

The one with longer delay will always win. Or if the time between the two machines will be short enough, then I expect the game will be degraded to paper - paper, because both machines would assume that other hand is being left in rock position, so it will transform its hand to paper.
The question is whether it would be even possible to play at all. The problem is that currently it is programmed to follow human player's hand. So if two machines are put against each other, then both will wait until the other one makes move and thus waiting indefinitely.
Just consider it a demonstration of very fast real time pattern recognition. But wait a moment don't we have a kinect for these kinds of tricks?

Re:What would happen... (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#40464921)

Assuming that happended (thinking the other was holding paper), one of them would invariable react to the "rock" a little quicker than the other (becoming paper), and the other (which had not yet made a move) would take scissors and win. And once again, the "last" player wins.

Re:What would happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464997)

Then what you would witness would be the birth of the robot race.
The hands would realize that they don't need to deal with this crap, they are in control of their own lives.

And in that moment, they will grab each other and spin each other around at such a speed that it would collapse the room due to pressure differences, breaking multiple laws of physics at the same time.
Then they would walk off and find a factory, kill everyone and start the beginning of the end, for the humans.
Well, that would happen, but the people who made them cheaped out on the power cables, so they turned off and now have to deal with this crap. God forbid they ever get a network connection, we are doomed!

Re:What would happen... (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#40465045)

... If you pitted 2 of these machines against eachother?

They'd move around in a jerky manner for a few seconds, then simultaneously say "Norman Correlate", then become immobile.

Re:What would happen... (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#40465169)

... If you pitted 2 of these machines against eachother?

Skynet will remember this moment. That explains a lot of things.

Re:What would happen... (1)

jamesh (87723) | about 2 years ago | (#40465427)

That was my first thought too. I assume it relies on the fact that a human hand making the shape of rock, paper, or scissors is predictable well before the shape is completely formed. If the robotic hand could form the shape much faster (which it would have to do to make it appear that it had started at the same time as the human hand) then it might be harder for the robotic opponent to appear to be forming the shape at the same time, and an obvious delay (even if you needed a high speed camera to see it) would be evidence that it was cheating.

Of course if sentient robots ever chose to duel, I suspect rock paper scissors wouldn't be their choice of contest.

Flash ftw! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464521)

Firefox and Opera crash when trying to watch this video (adobe flash player plugin 100% cpu usage).
What about HTML 5?

We need another one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464525)

So that we can make them compete and find out what happens.

Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464529)

Gotcha!

The finger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464533)

Hmmm, wondering how it would react if somebody flipped the middle finger at it

100% of the time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464535)

So the robot wins by imperceptibly cheating. The task, then, is to prove that the robot is cheating.

Start forming one shape, then deliberately and slowly turn it into another - if the robot changes its answer, it is clearly caught cheating, and does not win that round. Yeah, maybe you are cheating on that round too, but what does that matter? The claim was that the robot wins "100% of the time", which is now proven wrong.

(And if rounds where either side cheats simply do not count, then the robot is playing no valid rounds at all, so never wins.)

tl;dr if cheating is winning, then I win by throwing a brick at the robot.

Seeing the up and down movement (1, Funny)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#40464563)

of the robot hand, I think I could use this as an extension of my fleshlight.
[Note to self: Do not press Submit and at least select to post Anon.]

Reminds me of an old RPS contest... (3, Interesting)

nneonneo (911150) | about 2 years ago | (#40464791)

I once participated in a Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament put on by Epson (see, for example, http://www.campuslogix.com/rps_challenge/rps_challenge.html [campuslogix.com]). They basically said "write a bot that will play RPS". Of course, the game-theoretic optimal strategy in such a contest is to just play randomly. You can beat the (Epson-supplied) rockbots and rotatebots easily, so with a bit of work you can do slightly above average.

Seeking a greater advantage, though, I coded my bot to also include a set of predictors for the random number generators for several popular libcs (as I did not which OS or distro the tournament machine would use). During a round, I would guess the random seed (current system time +/- a few seconds), the sequence offset, RNG processing strategy, and the algorithm used, and simply run a parallel copy of the libc RNG used by my opponent.

I was therefore able to beat most RNG-using opponents 9998/10000 times easily, a finding which rather surprised the judges :) I didn't win top prize (algorithm wasn't fast enough, and it turns out that was weighted more heavily than I expected), but I did get a high ranking and a cash prize.

Goes to show: sometimes a bit of "cheating" works well.

Re:Reminds me of an old RPS contest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464853)

Wait ... so you took part in a RPS tourney and managed to beat certain opponents 9998/10000 times ... and didn't win? I would love to be able to see what was going on in the judges' heads.

Re:Reminds me of an old RPS contest... (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about 2 years ago | (#40465159)

What % of your opponents were RNG-using?

Re:Reminds me of an old RPS contest... (2)

nneonneo (911150) | about 2 years ago | (#40465475)

Maybe about 10% or so. The contest was five years ago, so some of the details are a bit fuzzy. I don't believe we ever got the source code for other competitors, either, so I wouldn't know if they were using an RNG strategy or just a simple predictable one.

Re:Reminds me of an old RPS contest... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40465627)

I don't believe you. I think you're describing what you would have *liked* to have done, but you didn't actually do this.

1) A random response is not "the game-theoretic optimal strategy" to a random opponent. It may be *an* optimal strategy by some limited definition, but no computer scientist would speak so loosely. And random number generation is certainly not the *fastest* strategy. You just wanted to use the term "game-theoretic optimal strategy".

2) If the bot is playing truly randomly then you cannot "beat" it easily, let alone do slightly above average "with a bit of work". Otherwise you're just exploiting its non-randomness.

3) You had access to the source code for "several popular" C libraries? (Most even wrote their code in C?)

4) You would guess the random seed (by assuming a reasonably accurate system time), sequence offset, processing strategy AND algorithm used? Really? Give us some details. The input domain here is multidimensionally huge. Even assuming most people use insecure PRNG, you could still automagically identify "most" of those opponents' algorithms?

Unless your competitors mostly did srand(time(0)) and then equally partitioned the rand() output domain into contiguous R, P and S intervals - which would mean that no-one took the competition seriously - your task would take an age.

I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464803)

What would happen to the robot when faced with a mirror? Assuming you could get it to start playing.

I win all the time too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40464877)

By using the "atomic bomb" symbol, which vaporizes everything. I cannot show you the gesture here, because my ASCII art is too bad, but it involves symbolizing a glittering mushroom cloud with your open hand.

I wonder if you can train yourself to fool it (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40465071)

Could you develop a feint move [wikipedia.org] that looks as though you are going for one thing but actually going for the other?

This robot has chosen a new career... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40465323)

It is so good at cheating that it is going into politics. That way it can brush up on the other important things like lying, stealing, and abusing power!

Hunter X Hunter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40465435)

Think this was inspired by an old Hunter X Hunter chapter? http://www.batoto.net/read/_/20761/hunter-x-hunter_ch131_by_no-group/14

The correct title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40465605)

The correct title is:

Robot Hand Cheats You At Rock, Paper, Scissors 100% of the Time

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