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Rock-Paper-Scissors Bot Will Destroy You Puny Humans Every Time

11.04.13 Andy Cush

All competitors, beware: a group of Japanese researchers built a robot that beats weakling humans at “rock, paper, scissors” 100% of the time.

But how? Unlike logic-based games like chess, at which bots have excelled for decades, “rock, paper, scissors” is in theory a game of pure choice. Having the leg up on your opponent would require something akin to mind-reading.

Or cheating. The Janken robot (named after the Japanese word for the game) only makes its move after its opponent has played, but its reaction speed is so fast as to be imperceptible. You play rock, Janken plays paper; you play scissors; Janken plays rock.

It’s high time for tech and art based on the centuries-old game. Last week we covered a piece that featured two random-number-generating computers locked in an endless, meditative match.

Watch the Janken robot in action above, humans, and be afraid. Be very afraid.