16 February 2010

20 Q

Bernadette smacked me in the shoulder, “I can’t believe it got it right!”

She held out the small, red orb to me. The screen read, “refrigerator.”  It was an electronic game based on the game 20 questions that someone had bought for The Boy. Basically, you would answer “yes,” “no” or “maybe to a series of questions and it would guess (with fairly good accuracy) what you were thinking of. It was sort of fun.

Bern wanted to know how it was so accurate and looked it up on the Internet. After she found out that it used a simple AI algorithm, she said, “It’s sort of like what’s-his-face.”

Ever the geek, I replied, “Do you mean Alan Turing? The mathematician who developed the test to check for true artificial intelligence?”

Ever the mom, she replied, “No, the little guy on SpongeBob…his wife.”

“Karen? Plankton’s wife?”

“That’s it!”

Somewhere in that exchange lay the key to figuring out the difference between men and women, but I’ll figure that out later…

Anyway, I was playing with the 20Q game later and decided to see if it could guess,


20Q: “Animal, vegetable, or mineral?”

Me: “Animal.” (only because there was no “angel'” category.)

A few more questions were asked and answered until, “Does it have a tail?”

Bernadette: “What are you doing?”

Me: “Checking you for a tail.”

More questions and then, “Does it have claws?”

I answered “no” since there wasn’t a well-sure-if-you-get-her-mad button.

Finally it announced its guess of “a crush.”

I thought, “Hmmm. Yes, but not quite the answer,” so I pressed “no” which gives it a chance to ask five more questions. I answered those questions and waited to see if it would guess “wife.”

The guess scrolled across the screen, “Is it a soul mate?”

I smiled and pressed, “yes.” Very correct, indeed.