Twenty Questions: 20Q

I just bought a 250,000-connection neural network that fits in the palm of my hand. $10 at the local WalMart.

The Radica 20Q is an implementation of Twenty Questions. In this case, you think of an animal, vegetable, mineral, or "other", and the 20Q will guess the object based on your answers to questions it poses. While it isn't going to pass a Turing Test, it will surprise you.

[kk's 20q photo]

The 20Q contains a boiled-down version of the neural network the web community has been training since 1995 by playing the game on the 20Q website. The network has actually been learning since 1988. For more details on the history and technology, check out Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools blog.

My wife teaches ESL (English as a Second Language) and has used it to help students practice reading in a fun way. The text scrolling speed can be adjusted, which makes it useful for students with a range of skill levels.

Here are two games I played with 20Q. Its questions are shown with my answers.

GAME I: (I am thinking of a window)

  1. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Other? Other
  2. Is it flat? yes
  3. Do you use it at work? yes
  4. Do you hold it when you use it? no
  5. Does it bring joy to people? sometimes
  6. Is it something you bring along? no
  7. Is it heavier than a pound of butter? yes
  8. Does it come in a box? no
  9. Does it break if dropped? yes
  10. Is it used by the police? yes
  11. Can you switch it on and off? no
  12. Would you find it on a farm? yes
  13. Can it be stolen? no
  14. Can it be used for recreation? no
  15. Do you clean it regularly? yes
  16. Is it outside? yes
  17. Can you open it? yes
  18. Can you buy it at a store? yes
  19. Can you put something into it? no
  20. Do you open and close it? yes

It's a window? yes

GAME II: (I am thinking of a drum)

  1. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Other? other
  2. Is it flat? no
  3. Would you use it daily? no
  4. Does it have a hard outer shell? yes
  5. Do you use it in your home? sometimes
  6. Is it usually colorful? unknown
  7. Can you open it? no
  8. Would you give it as a gift? sometimes
  9. Is it heavier than a pound of butter? yes
  10. Is it straight? no
  11. Does it require specific knowledge to use? yes
  12. Could it be found in a classroom? sometimes
  13. Does it weigh more than a duck? yes
  14. Does it make sound? yes
  15. Was it used over 100 years ago? yes
  16. Is it larger than a microwave? sometimes
  17. Do you hold it when you use it? sometimes
  18. Can it be washed? no
  19. Does it use electricity? no
  20. Does it shine? no

I guess you are thinking of a drum? yes



Comments:

That is awesome! I am so buying one today. Hopefully Toys-R-Us has them.

Posted by guest on May 25, 2005 at 10:36 AM EDT #

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