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This Robot Will Destroy You…in SCRABBLE

When it comes to nightmarish visions of the robot uprising that will eventually wipe out mankind as we know it, I’m not worried about Skynet or Cylons posing as Tricia Helfer or even Elon Musk-taunting A.I. like Sophia. No, the robot that has me most concerned is the one that kicked my ass at Scrabble. Better known as the Intelligent Vision System (IVS), this hyperintelligent robot is here to straight up murder you. Linguistically.

Created by Taiwanese research company Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the Scrabble bot uses a series of complex systems to strategically analyze and dominate the popular board game. With a combination of artificial intelligence, a front-facing camera that examines the board, and spindly appendages that place custom-made oversized versions of the game tiles on the board, IVS is devilishly good at Scrabble.

The robot is not without its limitations, though. As it stands now, it can only build off of the previously played word, which I learned the hard way when I tried to play what would have been a killer triple word score. Not only did this rude robot call the game when it scored 69 points–nice–but it gave me a pencil sharpener as a gift. You know, “to keep my mind sharp.” This is my own personal episode of Black Mirror and let me tell you, it’s a nightmare.

Here’s the kicker: IVS just plays Scrabble for fun. It is intended to help improve automation in the manufacturing sector, and the idea to have it play a board game arose as a means of making ITRI’s booth stand out on the crowded CES show floor. So not only is it way better at manufacturing that I’ll ever be, but it bested me in a duel of wits, too. Oh man, I have to go take a long walk and think about my life…

What do you think of this Scrabble-playing robot? Let us know in the comments below!

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Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter (@DanCasey).

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