The Short:
The EE Times reports that a computer has been built that can beat the world’s best humans at the game of air hockey.  Check out this video of the air hockey robot putting another wimpy human in his place:

The Long:
It is interesting to note how easy it was to build a robot that could outperform a human in air hockey because of the increasing capability of modern processors. The designers admit that they intentionally did not optimize the code when they could have in order to demonstrate the effect of going from an 8-bit to a 32-bit processor. The designers state:

“We could have optimized the 8-bit code, but we wanted to run the exact same program to show the difference in processors.”

And here are a few good quotes:

“So far, the robot has defeated every human opponent running in 32-bit mode, averaging three times as many goals as human players”

“A video system that tracks the puck’s position sends coordinates to the
board every 10 milliseconds. In 32-bit mode, the recalculation time
could keep up with the puck position. In 8-bit mode, the longer
recalculation time caused the robot to miss the puck.”

The day when computers equal and then surpass us is not as far away as many think…

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