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Rock, paper, scissors robot can't be beaten

Think you're a quick draw? Try your hand with this robot and you'll lose.

It's only got three fingers to your five, but it'll still beat you every time.
Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

In case you were in any doubt about the superiority of robots to humans, Japanese researchers have unleashed a machine that's unbeatable at that timeless human test of wills, rock, paper, scissors.

The boffins at the Ishikawa Oku Lab in the University of Tokyo call it a "human-machine cooperation system," but this robot hand doesn't seem interested in cooperating at all.

It's only interested in winning, and it does that by cheating, in a sense.

A high-speed camera captures its human opponent's choice of the three weapons, and it takes only a millisecond for the robot to form the winning hand shape.

As seen in the vid below, the hand looks like it's almost playing honestly and showing its weapon at the same time as the hapless human.

By the time he or she has realized what's going on, the robot has already won. It wins 100 percent of the time, according to the researchers.

Oddly enough, rock, paper, scissors is no mere child's play in Japan. Like flipping a coin in the U.S., it's used by kids and adults alike to make decisions all the time.

It's just one more step in the path to robots running our lives and making all the decisions for us.

(Via IEEE Spectrum)