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It may not seem like it takes a lot of smarts to play a game like Pictionary, but in fact it involves a lot of subtle and abstract visual and linguistic skills. This AI built to play a game like it is similarly complex, and its interpretations and creations when you play it (as you can now) may seem eerily human — but it’s also refreshing to have such an agent working collaboratively with you rather than beating you with superhuman skills.
Iconary, as the game’s creators at the Allen Institute for AI decided to call it to avoid lawsuits from Mattel, has you drawing and arranging icons to form phrases, or guessing at the arrangements of the computer player.
Instance - Phrase - Woman - Milk - Glass
For instance, if you were to get the phrase “woman drinking milk from a glass,” you’d probably draw a woman — a stick figure, probably, and then select the “woman” icon from the computer’s interpretations of your sketch. Then you’d draw a glass, and place that near the woman. Then… milk? How do you draw milk? There is actually a milk bottle icon if you look for it, but you could also draw a cow and put that in or next to the glass.
The computer then guesses at what you’ve put together, and after a few tries it would probably get it. You can also play it the other way, where the computer arranges icons and you have to guess.
Right - Way - Google - Quick - Draw
Now, let’s get this right out of the way: this is very different from Google’s superficially similar “Quick, Draw” game. In that one the system has been can only guess whether your drawing is one of a few hundred pre-selected objects it’s been specifically trained to recognize.
Not only are there some 75,000 phrases supported in Iconary, with more being added regularly, but there’s...
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