Wednesday, October 19, 2005


20 questions

Have you ever played the old game 20 Questions? Animal, vegetable or mineral - you know the one. Want to try playing against a computer? Warning, the computer wins almost every time!

Welcome to my latest Internet obsession, 20Q.com. You can play online or free, or you can fork over $15Cnd and buy the handheld version, which I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing in WalMart the other day. I read that it will be one of the hot toys of the season. Check out the reviews on Amazon - I'm not the only addict!

I found 20Q through an article in the local paper (the artificial intelligence behind the game was built by a guy who lives here in Ottawa) and haven't been able to stop playing since. It's probably a good thing the 20q.com link is blocked from my work server - but I could always stash a handheld version in my desk. Guess what I'm asking Santa for this Christmas?

Why are you still here reading? Really, go try it! So far, the longest it's taken is 29 questions to guess "big toe". It took less than 20 questions to guess doughnut, lobster, spam and chewing gum. It blows me away every single time.

If you want some insight into how the AI (artificial intelligence) uses your answers to build it's neural networks, play the next generation testing text only version instead. After you play, the computer tells you how your answers matched up with its expectations.

Now, stop reading and go play! (Don't forget to come back and tell me whether you loved it or not, though...)