Robot conquers Rubik's Cube one-handed in another sign we're all doomed

First backflips, now Rubik's Cube.

Rae Hodge Former senior editor
Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
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OpenAI's new robot arm can solve a Rubik's Cube single-handedly. 

Open AI

If solving a Rubik's Cube wasn't hard enough already, you can now test your skills against the dextrous new artificial intelligence system created by OpenAI. In an 18-second video posted to the company's Twitter account Tuesday, OpenAI's robot masters the cube quickly with a single, human-like hand.

"This is an unprecedented level of dexterity for a robot, and is hard even for humans to do," OpenAI tweeted. 

Earlier this year, researchers at the University of California at Irvine unveiled an AI algorithm (sans robot arm) that can analyze more than 10 billion possible combinations to solve a Rubik's cube in just over a second.

Watch this: Watch this Rubik's Cube solve itself

OpenAI's robot still hasn't perfected its technique. It only solves the cube 60% of the time, according to the company's blog. But it raised the bar when it proved able to adapt and respond to outside interference -- like being prodded by a stuffed giraffe or having two fingers tied together during training. 


The robot arm adapts to some plush giraffe perturbation.


This is just the latest example of robot dexterity to remind us that we might want to play nice with our mechanical friends. Last month, Boston Dynamics' nearly 5-foot-tall Atlas robot showed off new gymnastic skills: somersaults, jumps, twists and a handstand. The company's Spot robot dog, which is now officially on sale, has also twerked to Bruno Mars and worked together in a pack to haul a truck across a parking lot.

Originally published Oct. 15.
Update, Oct. 16: Adds more details about robot advancements.