Video: Robot hand can't lose a game of rocks-paper-scissors

Oddly enough, one of the few similarities between children in the U.S. and Japan is the game of rock-paper-scissors, known in Japan as Janken. Now a research lab has used that simple kid's game to offer a glimpse at the inexorable perfection curve of robots versus humans.

The Ishikawa Oku Laboratory at the University of Tokyo created the Janken robotic hand with the vision of creating a mechanism that could never lose when playing the game against a human. Using its superior high-speed vision, which can recognize a human's upcoming play in milliseconds, the robotic hand achieves a 100 percent winning result. The demonstration is amazing, until you begin to think about the chilling implications of future humanoid robots empowered with such high-speed hand accuracy.

Also, for the hardcore dystopians out there, the metaphor of the game itself seems to foreshadow a future no longer governed by humanity's reliance on chance and Captain Kirk-style ingenuity when faced with pure machine efficiency. You can see the Janken robot in action in the video below.

Ishikawa Oku Laboratory, via IEEE Automaton

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