Start Over

Mind Reader is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

The implementation of this game is based on Claude Shannon's 1953 memo, "A Mind-Reading(?) Machine", which describes a machine built out of relays at Bell Labs. Shannon believed that people were not a good source of random behavior and demonstrated this fact with several implementations of machines that he called mind readers.

This machine is a somewhat simplified model of a machine designed by D.W. Hagelbarger. It plays what is essentially the old game of matching pennies or "odds and evens". This game has been discussed from the game theoretic angle by von Neumann and Morgenstern, and from the psychological point of view by Edgar Allen Poe in "The Purloined Letter". Oddly enough, the machine is aimed more nearly at Poe's method of play than von Neumann's.

Instead of using mechanical relays, this is a Web implementation using the JavaScript programming language executing within the browser.

Your goal is to prevent the computer from reading your mind (i.e. recognizing your patterns). To achieve this, make your sequence of choices as unpredictable as possible. You can use pseudo-random number generators but they may fail in that they are truly not that random. According to current general consensus, the best source of randomness is the quantum world where uncertainty rules. Deriving a random sequence of numbers from quantum physics processes (e.g. photon emission) will produce the best random numbers. The principles of entropy and randomness are topics onto themselves.

Another approach is to attempt to recognize what the computer algorithm is doing, and attempt to counteract that. This is likely easier said than done. It would be akin to pitting the algorithm against itself. And with a human trying to execute the algorithm in one's head, (s)he is likely to lose to the computer's calculation strength. On the other hand, if a person could achieve the feat, it would be an interesting position to be the mind reader over other people.

Whatever your interest level, let us get back to just enjoying the game, win or lose against the computer.

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