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March 22, 2019
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AI are learning common sense through Pictionary

AI are learning common sense through Pictionary

February 6, 2019 | By Emma Kidwell




Researchers over at Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence have developed an AI program that can play both sides of Pictionary using a similar game called Iconary, where one player draws a picture to represent a word or phrase for the other player to guess.

This is pretty interesting, given that most AI research being conducted right now seems to be geared toward competition (like playing against humans in chess or DOTA) as opposed to collaboration. 

Iconary is actually available to try online, and prompts the player with guessing what the AI drew or vice versa. If the player chooses to draw, they're asked to doodle the action provided and then select icons to represent their drawings.

As explained by Kaveh Waddell over Axios, this is a key stepping stone to machine intelligence that matches or surpasses human capabilities. Despite the AI in Iconary being impressive, it hasn't mastered common sense yet, which is important to the game. 

The Allen researchers' AI watched humans play 100,000 games while also being taught how to find words that have characteristics in common.

"Whenever the AI is taking a concept or idea that doesn’t have a corresponding icon, it’s forced to use its learned common-sense knowledge to figure out how a combination of icons can be used to effectively communicate the concept to a person," explains Allen CEO Oren Etzioni.

There are still some hitches (like the AI absorbing some human biases), but it's certainly an interesting step forward in machine learning. 



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