Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Quick, think of something

Thought? Now go over to and let an artificial intelligence program play 20 Questions with you. I thought of three things, and it guessed them all within 15 questions. (And then I thought of “blog”, but it finally guessed “nightmare”, which some of my readers, I suppose, would say was close enough.) The remarkable thing about the programming is that it actually learns as it plays, entering each new game into its database and getting more and more efficient. Give it a spin.

And if you like it, buy it for Christmas! 20Q is now available as a battery-powered game, and it is one of the best-selling games this season. Unlike the website, the game is not attached to and updated by an online database, and so it does not learn on the fly as it goes along. But it’s still pretty darned good, and it seems to be a big favourite with kids this season.

For more, read reviews of the game by Business Week and Time magazine.

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