[Avodah] Kosher Switch Really Random?

Shmuel Weidberg via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Sun Sep 20 15:12:07 PDT 2015

Hello everybody. I haven't been active on this list in a long time.

I just had a look around the internet to see if there was anything new with
the Kosher Switch, and I remembered an issue with it that I haven't seen
discussed anywhere.

The makers say that there is a certain amount of randomization involved in
whether the light flashes into the detector and whether the detector
detects the light.

There is an issue with this that would not be known to those who aren't
computer scientists and that is that computers cannot actually create
random numbers. They create pseudo-random numbers which means they take a
seed number and perform a complex calculation on it to get the next number,
which looks like it bears no relation to the first number, but which in
fact is completely determined by the first number.

Computer can get real random numbers, by generating the seed by looking at
actions that take place that the computer cannot predict such as when
somebody presses a key on a keyboard, or when some other sensor is
activated. Alternatively, they can get random numbers from a special piece
of hardware that is designed to physically make random numbers. However, I
believe such pieces of hardware are quite specialized and if there actually
was one in the switch it would be advertised.

In short I am saying that however much Kosher Switch claims that there is a
random chance of the switch not going on, it is not really random. At the
time the switch is flicked the computer "knows" whether it will go on, it
simply pretends that it doesn't and goes through the motions.

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