How DO they do this? Think of anything, some object. Now, go to this Web site and play 20 questions against the computer. The computer will likely be able to figure out exactly what it is you’re thinking about, no matter how obscure. And, if it happens to ask a question that it turns out is new information to it, the computer learns from that so that next time, it’ll likely do even better. There are more than a million games played so far.
Where’s the entertainment connection? Well, put this functionality into a wireless instant messenger, and it’s far more fun to play this on your cell phone while waiting for a bus than that “snake” game.
Thinking more generally, the technology behind a service that asks simple questions of thousands of consumers and draws relevant conclusions from their answers certainly has applications for companies like Blockbuster. Think 20 questions in reverse: A kiosk in Blockbuster asks you a series of Yes/No questions, narrowing down what kind of movie you’re in the mood for (“Romance or Thriller?”). At the end, it comes up with a perfect selection for you for that evening based on what’s available that matches your choice. Seeing the perfect movie every time would bring you back again and again.
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