Most of us think of the game rock, paper, scissors (Shoot!) as a game of chance.
Some of us, like Douglas Walker, co-author of the Rock Paper Scissors Strategy Guide, consider it a game of physical and psychological skill.
And then there are the scientists at the University of Tokyo’s Ishikawa Oku Laboratory, makers of the Janken robot, who have turned the game into an impossible endeavor.
You cannot beat the Janken robot at rock, paper, scissors. The robot will always win.
Also, Janken is the Japanese name of the rock, paper, scissors game.
So how does the robot always win? The answer is simple: The robot cheats.
The researchers explain that the robot makes its move one millisecond after its human opponent has made his or her move.
“The wrist joint angle of the robot hand is controlled based on the position of the human hand,” the researchers explain on the lab’s website. “The vision recognizes one of rock, paper and scissors based on the shape of the human hand. After that, the robot hand plays one of rock, paper and scissors so as to beat the human being in 1ms.”
A robot that will win rock, paper, scissors 100% of the time sounds kind of annoying to us, but the researchers said the technology shows the possibilty of cooperation between humans and machines in just a few milliseconds.
“This technology can be applied to motion support of human beings and cooperation work between human beings and robots etc. without time delay,” the researchers wrote.
Also, it is strangely hypnotic to watch a rock, paper, scissors game between human and robot — as in the video below: