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Boy claims he can count money faster than machine in competition. The result leaves judges stunned.

The boy displayed four different methods for counting four different types of stacks of notes, leaving both the judges and the audience awestruck.

Boy claims he can count money faster than machine in competition. The result leaves judges stunned.
Cover Image Source: YouTube | China's Got Talent

Mao Hongyi stood nonchalantly on the stage of China's Got Talent 2019, with a black-and-silver briefcase full of cash in front of him. He said he was going to use something from inside the briefcase to showcase his talent on the show. The judges shuddered, quipping that it looked like some magic box or a cosmetic case. He buckled open the briefcase to reveal stacks of currency notes. As the episode progressed, the boy left both the judges and the audience stunned, displaying a superhuman talent in the field of counting money.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | tima miroshnichenko
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Tima Miroshnichenko

At the beginning of the episode, Hongyi handed four envelopes to the host who transferred them to the judges' panel. The four judges unfolded the envelopes and slipped out four crisp pink banknotes displaying each in their hands to the audience. “Isn’t this a banknote?” one asked. Hongyi replied, “It’s the note I used when I was young.” There was a note in the hand of each of the four judges, to which, he explained, “The four notes in your hands are the four series of banknotes issued since the PRC’s ( People's Republic of China) founding. Every series has its unique counting method.”

“I grew up listening to the sound of counting. My family has a long history working in the banking industry,” he explained, adding that eleven of his relatives work as bankers across six different banks in China. “My parents often practice their calculation and mental counting at home. So even in dreams, I could hear the sound of counting papers. And also try to emulate them,” he said while wiggling his fingers in the gesture of counting papers. “I’ve also brought my family’s most prized heirloom to CGT. It’s stored in a box that’s over 40 years old.”

Representative Image Source: Pexels | theshaamim
Representative Image Source: Pexels | theshaamim

While explaining the history of the notes, the brilliant boy depicted different methods of counting different series of notes, grabbing huge rounds of claps from the audience. He illustrated counting money by twisting notes in fan form, hand-pressing with a thumb, swiping, and more. He then invited one of the judges on stage to operate the money-counting machine for him. In a typical currency-counting machine, a stack of notes is placed in one compartment of the machine, which then pulls notes one by one. By counting the number of times a beam of light is interrupted, the machine counts the notes.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

Before starting the competition, Hongyi elaborated, “I would like you to pick a random stack of notes both from the machine’s pile and my pile, and secretly remove the same number of notes from each. At the end of the contest I will need to be faster than the machine, but also say which stacks are missing – how many notes.” The host removed some bills from two stacks, while the machine-operating judge, Jin Xing, and the boy stood with their backs turned to the table. Once done, he said, “I will use four different ways to count money, and compete with machines for speed.”


In the video of the episode, Hongyi was seen flipping the notes with the speed of the wind, while the woman operating the machine monitored it counting another bundle of crisp pink notes. At the end of this round, the judges looked at him with their mouths wide open and declared, “He finished it,” “He is faster than the machine now!” and “They are evenly matched!” The battle between human intelligence and machine intelligence has been the subject of a lot of science fiction. Man has been repeatedly pitted against machines and this boy proved that human intelligence is still beyond a machine's grasp. As he finished the competition, the audience erupted into thunders of applause. 



A clip from this episode was also posted on Reddit and the response was buzzing with a variety of comments. u/maxru85 jokingly said, “I guess the machine’s salary is still smaller.” u/jauntybeats named the boy "the John Henry of money counting.” u/crypto_fanatic commented, “I’m convinced they can beat any machine. They are real-time computers. What a brain, what a magnificent brain."


The boy had earlier said on the show, “What I am going to try has never been showcased on CGT, so I am not 100% sure if I will succeed. To motivate myself, I am going to use my four years' worth of savings. Today I want to perform in front of the whole nation and set a new world record from China.” And well, he did end up creating a record on the show.

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