The New York Times Thinks It Can Beat You at Rock-Paper-Scissors

The NYT has an online game of rock-paper-scissors where you play a computer. The computer can be at “novice” or “expert” mode. Supposedly players fall into patterns that the computer can detect, and “expert” mode is based on those patterns while “novice” starts from scratch. I played 20 rounds at expert mode, often deciding what to play then changing my mind at the last minute to the opposite.

My final score was 7-6-7, that is seven wins, six ties, seven losses, which I assume is very consistent with what one would expect from a random outcome. Is there anything to this?

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4 Responses to The New York Times Thinks It Can Beat You at Rock-Paper-Scissors

  1. I used a convenient source of random digits (the decimal expansion of e) to pick my plays for me, and lost badly. I suspect that I need to use a less familiar source of random digits.

  2. elliott.gorelick says:

    I used a stopwatch with a thousandths digit and a rotating choice of what to do with zero (zero=rock then paper then scissors then rock, etc.) and won handily.

  3. dr says:

    Good ‘ol rock. Nothing beats rock.

  4. d brown says:

    The trick I used was to write down about 50 answers before hand, and just play it out.
    RSRPP, blah, blah. I haven’t used dice, but that sounds like a great idea and similar. If you randomize, there is no “human pattern” for the computer to play against. You are not responding to anything, so it can’t either. Sorry the NYT Site is down. It was fun!

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