Thursday, June 13, 2019

20Q can suck my fat ass

The 20 Questions website has been around for years. Go give it a try if you haven't already done so. You'll have noted, assuming you've played the game, that at the very end, there's usually a list of "contradictions" that come up. These contradictions arise from how you answered the computer's questions versus how "others" answered the same questions. 20Q isn't merely a game: it uses a machine-learning algorithm to help it "learn" which questions to ask. In theory, the machine gets better over time, but I haven't noticed much improvement over the years: the thing still asks plenty of goofy, out-of-the-blue questions.

Anyway, in a recent session, I thought of "bologna," and 20Q wasn't able to figure out what I was thinking. Here's the list of excuses it gave for why it couldn't figure out the answer, with my reactions written beneath each one (and I'm stifling the urge to change all the comma splices to semicolons):

Is it something you bring along?
You said Yes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.

What—you can't bring your bologna sandwich along to the office? Now I'm curious about all the dumbasses who affirmed that bologna, like Thor's hammer, can't be lifted off a horizontal surface and carried somewhere else. Maybe Thor didn't need to go as far as Niðavellir to forge a Thanos-killing weapon: he could've sculpted one out of bologna, according to the pea-brains who think bologna is magically rooted to the earth's core.


Does it come in a box?
You said Yes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.

I hesitated on this one. Maybe I was wrong. Bologna often comes in a plastic package that's vaguely reminiscent of a box, albeit a cylindrical one. Maybe I should've answered "maybe."

Does it roll?
You said Maybe, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.

A chub of bologna (yep—that's what it's called; when I looked it up, I thought it'd be called a log) does indeed roll. A single slice can theoretically be bowled, if you've got proper technique, and it might roll a short distance before collapsing. Hence "maybe."

Does it smell bad?
You said No, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is Yes.

Does it smell bad coming right out of the package? Only if you're an idiot who buys rotten bologna. What're these stupid fuckers thinking when they answer "Yes"?

Do you use it at work?
You said Yes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.

This is one of 20Q's many awkwardly phrased questions. You don't use bologna: you eat it. So the dilemma in answering this question is: what if "use" actually means "eat" in this context? What if a million players answer this question with a "no," thereby teaching the machine-learning algorithm to cut bologna off from any possibility of being associated with the location where one is likely to be eating lunch, i.e., work? So I chose to interpret "use" as "eat" and answered with a resounding "yes."

Is it found on a desk?
You said Sometimes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.

Here again, "other players" are idiots. Bologna can be found on my desk, as part of a sandwich, at lunch. What are these other retards thinking?

Is it slippery?
You said Sometimes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is Doubtful.

Let your bologna go bad in the package, and it'll be plenty slippery. Store your bologna properly, and eat it well before its sell-by date, and there'll be little reason ever to think of your bologna as slippery. (And by "your bologna," I don't mean your dick. But feel free to eat your dick before its sell-by date if that's what floats your boat.) So yeah, when you average out the respective conditions of the packs of bologna sold and stored all over the United States, bologna is sometimes slippery. Who the fuck answers "doubtful"?

20Q has a long way to go, and maybe the reason it's not improving very quickly is that the general public keeps feeding it these stupid, fucked-in-the-head responses.

You should've seen the contradictions when I thought of a sheep. "Does it have a long tail? You answered Depends, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No." And that's because these morons don't know that many species of sheep have long tails that get docked. Or this: "Does it communicate? You said Yes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No." Christ. So sheep don't bleat? And: "Is it black? You said Sometimes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No." So most people have never heard of black sheep, ja?

ADDENDUM:

20Q correctly guessed that I was thinking of an apple pie, but as always, it informed me that there were... contradictions. To wit:

You were thinking of an apple pie.

You said it's classified as Vegetable, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is Animal.

Really? About the only animal product in an apple pie is butter, and even there, vegan butter exists. An apple pie is mostly fruit and vegetable matter, I'd say. Animal? Really?

Does it taste good fried? You said Yes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.
Hell yes, an apple pie is good fried! Have you never been to a Korean McDonald's? Unlike in the US, where things went politically correct years ago, and Mickey D's apple pies are now baked, apple pies are still fried in Korea.

Is it delivered? You said Sometimes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.
I'm pretty sure that plenty of US bakeries deliver. Idiots.

Would you find it on a farm? You said Maybe, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.
So a sturdy Hausfrau on a farm can't bake an apple pie? Ever?

Is it commonly used? You said No, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is Probably.
Here again, the use/eat problem. In this case, it seems the general public also interpreted "use" to mean "eat," whereas I went the other direction.

Is it colorful? You said Yes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.
Variegated browns, golds, yellows, all cohabiting in a topographical riot of shades and hues... if someone were to paint a beautiful apple pie, would that painting be described as colorless? I think not. So, to 20Q I say:






4 comments:

  1. Interesting. I had never even heard of 20Q until now. So I gave it a try. I was enjoying a hearty bowl of raisin bran at the time so I thought of cereal. 30 questions later it still did not have the correct answer, which means "I won".

    These were the alleged contradictions in my answers:

    You said it's classified as Vegetable, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is Concept.
    Is it larger than a pound of butter? You said Sometimes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.
    Is it cold? You said Sometimes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.
    Would you find it on a farm? You said Maybe, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.
    Can it bend without breaking? You said Maybe, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.
    Is it smooth? You said Sometimes, 20Q was taught by other players that the answer is No.

    Sorry for the cut and paste, too lazy to type them out. How in the f can cereal be a concept? Anyway, it was mildly entertaining regardless. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just tried it with a goaltender mask (inspired by the recently ended Stanley Cup finals), and it was not in Q20's "knowledgebase," which means that I did not get any "contradictions."

    The problem with Twenty Questions is that language is ambiguous enough as it is even when both parties agree on what is being discussed. I do appreciate that "irrelevant" is one of the options you can choose, because a number of the questions it asked were indeed irrelevant. For example, one of the questions it asked was, "Does it make a sound?" Pretty much any physical object can make a sound if you hit it with another object, so the question is kind of pointless. I was hoping that my "irrelevant" answers would help steer the program in the right direction, but I guess the attempt was doomed from the start.

    I wonder if this means that I was the first player to ever try "goaltender mask." And I wonder if the program can connect this with things like "hockey mask" or "goalie mask."

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, I did it again with 'electronic cigarette" and "e-cigarette". It did not recognize either...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Whatever AI is powering 20Q, it sure isn't Watson.

    ReplyDelete

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