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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Robot Cheats To Win

Everybody cheats in one form or the other.

Whether it's on your spouse or significant other, your taxes, the board game Monopoly (hand in the bank), or just moving before the traffic light turns green, people like or need to cheat. It's human nature and I'm not here to judge, because I'm guilty as well. Though I do not feel guilt.

And neither do robots. Robots do not feel guilt because they are not programmed to have feelings.

Robots were built to be more efficient at doing human chores - like calculating numbers or building automobiles or going into radioactive contaminated buildings...

So... why does a robot need to cheat to beat a human at its own game?

Researchers at Tokyo University’s Ishikawa Oku Laboratory have developed a second robotic system - this time one that can’t lose a round of Rock-Paper-Scissors (known as janken in Japan) when pitted against a living, breathing human being.

A second version? Yes... I knew I had seen this before a couple of years ago! Well, this version... it NEVER Loses.

Because it cheats and is fast enough to get away with it.

Yes... the robot cheats, but it's so quick, you can not see it cheating you even though it is doing so right in front of your eyes.

Blame that on the inadequate way a human is built.

We have slow reactions and visual perception speed relative to the inorganic robot shaped like a human hand.

In order for a carbon unit human to create either the scissor, rock or paper gesture, it takes, on average 60 milliseconds, which is also about as fast as the human eye can perceive motion.

And while the robot doesn't know any of that (I hope), it takes advantage of that fact.

The robot’s three-fingered hand is connected to a high-speed camera that watches it's human opponent's hand, determining the specific hand position in just one millisecond.

It then takes another 20 milliseconds for the robot hand to form a hand sign to beat the human—at a speed fast enough to ensure it completes its gesture at the same time as, or even a moment ahead of, the human player.

So... why do we need a cheating robot? Do we need to be watching robots hit on our spouses like on the new television show Almost Human (Effing excellent!)?

No, say the robot researchers... the plan is to ensure that if humans and machines will be working together on say, a manufacturing production line, a robot will be able to visually see what you are doing before you know you are doing it (like tripping), and react accordingly to perhaps move out of your way, or maybe even to catch you before you fall.

Obviously, the plan will be to utilize this cheating technology into robotics capable of performing functions more than just pissing off its human hosts at a game.

But, speaking as a guy... I wonder if they could utilize this technology this technology with the Ocular Rift virtual reality sex program - see HERE. Coated with a synthetic skin, it would definitely feel like your left hand (if you are right-handed) - IE - like someone else.

Here's the robot in action:

Cheers,
Andrew Joseph

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