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AI Games

Can You Beat a Computer At Rock-Paper-Scissors? 292

tekgoblin writes "The New York Times has created a game that uses artificial intelligence to outsmart you. It uses a simple game called Rock-Paper-Scissors which is pretty much known by everyone on the planet by now. The computer tries to mimic human reasoning by building on simple rules and statistical averages. So based on the rules of the game and your previous moves, the computer tries to make predictions on your next move. The game has 2 modes, the first being Novice, where the computer learns the game from scratch, and Veteran, where the computer has experience of over 200,000 rounds of previous experience."
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Can You Beat a Computer At Rock-Paper-Scissors?

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  • by bobdotorg ( 598873 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @07:42AM (#35428108)

    ... in the slightly modified version:

  • by presspass ( 1770650 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @07:46AM (#35428122)

    Slap the paper over the intake fan, cut the Ethernet cable with the scissors, then bash it with the rock, easy.


  • Yes (Score:3, Funny)

    by TimmyRt ( 1354547 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @07:46AM (#35428124) Homepage
    At 10-3-2 I feel like I can say yes. Now do my dishes computer!
  • by Mortiss ( 812218 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @07:46AM (#35428130)


    Typical human behavior... Always resorting to violence.

  • by SimonTheSoundMan ( 1012395 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @07:48AM (#35428142) Homepage

    I wasted 10 minutes of my day playing this yesterday. I then looked at others who were playing Farmville, made it feel like they were doing something productive for a change.

  • TL:DR; No. (Score:5, Funny)

    by definate ( 876684 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @08:22AM (#35428330)

    If it's designed to outsmart me, I'm guessing unless I really learnt its algorithms, and there was a limit placed on its memory/analysis, that I couldn't.

    Don't mean to brag, but I'm pretty fucking awesome when it comes to Paper-Rock-Scissors (it's like Rock-Paper-Scissors with ROT1). The reason I was good, was I was good at gauging the intelligence of my opponent, and emulating how they would emulate me, then moving to the next level.

    The best experience of this was a competition at school, where you had to beat one person, advance to level 2, beat a level 2, advance to level 3, until I think it was level 6 or 7. If you lost, you got demoted, if you won, you advanced. It was the best of 3. This was done in quick succession, eg, the entire game took about 5 minutes for me, 30 minutes to an hour for others.

    I won by beating level 1 (easy), people think you go rock, so they go paper, so I go scissors. Next they chase scissors, not sure why, but this round is in quick succession to the first, and maybe its being unable to come up with anything else, so I go rock. BAM! LEVEL UP!

    Next level was relatively easy, they must have had a similar thought process to me, so I go rock (remembering the decision process for level 1). Next they go 2 moves ahead from rock, because that's their level of emulation. This means they go scissors again. So I go rock. BAM! LEVEL UP!

    Next level was harder, first round they had the level 2 decision process, but the second round they've caught on, so I need to go scissors, which is 1 move ahead (or could also be seen as taking the level 2 decision process, but I modeled it in my mind as taking 1 move ahead). They go paper! BAM! LEVEL UP!

    Next level was much harder, but by now I got a good idea of what I should be doing. Following on from before, I emulate them as my last turn, and BAM! LEVEL UP!

    Did this a few times.

    At the end had a collision, I went rock, they went rock. WHOAH! FIRST LOSS/DRAW! I realized that this person was doing exactly as I was doing, the hard problem then became, modelling my own process. I remember we did the count down 1..2.. and I said stop. Wait. Because I couldn't walk through the chain of previous decisions fast enough in my mind, to come at the one I want. Once I had it, I went, okay go. 1...2...3...BAM! I WIN! Next round, 1...2...3...BAM! I WIN! LEVEL UP!

    I'm now crowned king of all students and get to go sit on the benches and wait for the idiots. When I talked to the people who finished next, and asked them what they did, they explained it exactly how I did. In the end, I was able to predict their capability one further though. A large part of why the decision processes above would have worked was also because I was the first to level up, and get out, if I messed up early on, and got stuck amongst the riffraff I'd likely be unable to apply the same reasoning, as each level would follow that process less, and be less refined. Also, give I sort of knew these people, I probably had a reasonable feeling on their ability to think like me, which probably helped quite a lot.

    As you may be able garner by now, this was the greatest moment of my life. Now some might say, the law of large numbers applies here, and that what I achieved, was just randomness in action. Well fuck you! Given their explanations later, my ability to repeat this a few other times, and my ego, I come to the conclusion that this was not random.

    Wait... what was I saying. Oh yeah.

    Anyhow, because of this, I'd likely be unable to defeat the computer over and over again, as its ability to estimate my thought process (give it's simple like above), would be far greater as it can store a lot more of "if I go x he goes y after I went x and he went y and I went...", while also applying statistical analysis to it. Though, I do however think I'd be able to give it a good enough run for its money, that we'd diverge towards 50% win rate, as my thought process would devolve to random, in the long run.

    Ergo, could you beat a computer at Paper-Rock-Scissors? No, no I fucking couldn't, that's a stupid question. Next you'll be fucking asking me "Could you beat a computer at calculating and verifying primes?".

  • by daid303 ( 843777 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @08:30AM (#35428360) []
    I prefer dynamite tornado quicksand pit chain gun law whip sword rock death wall sun camera fire chainsaw school scissors poison cage axe peace computer castle snake blood porcupine vulture monkey king queen prince princess police woman baby man home train car noise bicycle tree turnip duck wolf cat bird fish spider cockroach brain community cross money vampire sponge church butter book paper cloud airplane moon grass film toilet air planet guitar bowl cup beer rain water tv rainbow ufo alien prayer mountain satan dragon diamond platinum gold devil fence video game math robot heart electricity lightning medusa power laser nuke sky tank helicopter myself.

  • by WombatDeath ( 681651 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @08:43AM (#35428404)

    As you may be able garner by now, this was the greatest moment of my life.

    You know how sometimes you read things on the internet and you think "I'm almost certain that's a joke, but there is worrying shadow of doubt lurking at the back of my mind"?

  • by j_sp_r ( 656354 ) on Wednesday March 09, 2011 @09:14AM (#35428532) Homepage

    If your pattern is completely random, the opponent can easily win by favoring one.

    For example, random against always rock, rock wins 2 out of 3 times.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith