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Man vs. Machine: Rock-Paper-Scissors

May 27th, 2011

New York Times

Man vs. Machine: Rock-Paper-Scissors

May 27, 2011 — Most of us have played Rock-Paper-Scissors at one time or another.  The choices we make when you play seem kind of random, but it’s not as random as flipping a coin, let’s say. You’re making decisions with your brain. You may have a favorite or a pattern, as does the person you’re playing against. And we try to learn from that in the hopes it’ll help us win.

Scientists are continually working on figuring out how our brains work, what makes us smart, how we make the decisions we make. And they’re applying that to computers, giving them what’s called Artificial Intelligence.

So, in a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, rather than just picking randomly or without thought, as a regularly programmed computer might do … now they can “use” the information and try and get the upper hand (so to speak).

The New York Times has set up a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors using basic Artificial Intelligence. You can see how the computer is learning to beat the statistical odds that each choice wins 1/3 of the time (because there are three choices and each one, in theory, should over time be chosen about the same amount of times).

But be prepared, it just might win! Click here to play!

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