20 Questions

6 Jun

I’m kinda poor right now, what with it being the beginning of the month and all.  I couldn’t afford to buy anything interesting this week.  I did go to Walgreens but I bought, like, cheese, greeting cards, and toilet paper. Not exactly fascinating purchases that deserve a good 500 words written about them.  So on to other things.

Because I’m poor, I also can’t afford to do much. So I’ve been wasting time playing 20 questions at 20q.net.  I love playing 20 questions with the computer.  The game learns about things by the responses that people give it. It can often be totally, amazingly accurate.  When the Harry Potter 20q first came out a few years ago, it was a little rusty at first.  But then news of the game got to all the HP fan sites and the game was inundated with information from crazy, hard-core Harry Potter fans.  So it got really good.  It guessed Kingsley Shackelbolt in like 5 questions.  FIVE QUESTIONS! Amazing!  People who have seen all of the movies probably don’t know who Kingsley Shackelbolt is.  But 20q knew! Eventually, more normal people (as opposed to obsessive Harry Potter fans) started to play and the game got a lot of bad information, so it’s not as sharp as it once was.

On the other hand, if thousands of people all went on and told 20q that “yes” Don Knotts is a sex symbol, the game would accept that to be true.  So it’s kind of like a game that got all of its information from a crazy version of Wikipedia in which misinformation cannot immediately be edited out.  Whatever most players think is true is accepted to be true, even if clearly it is not.  So the game can believe some really weird things.  And even though “Irrelevant” and “Unknown” are options for the player, a lot of people seem to ignore those options and end up feeding lots of strange information into the game.

Anyway, here is a list of things that 20q has taught me. (BTW, this list has been compiled over a few years, so if you play today, you won’t necessarily get the same answers.  Also, I usually play the People 20q.  [Ya know, that probably would have become obvious soon enough.])

  • Emeril  Lagasse is voluptuous.
  • Bobby Brady (yes, as in the Brady Bunch) is a sex symbol.
  • Kate Winslet is colorful and suspenseful. (?)
  • Salman Rushdie does not work in an office.  (Is it common knowledge that he writes in the tub or something?  I would have assumed he had some sort of home office. Guess I was wrong.)
  • Colin Firth takes place in America. (?)
  • Oprah is not an actress.  (That Oscar don’t mean nothin to 20q!)
  • Bono wears a hat.  Also, he is “probably” a world champion.
  • Steve Martin is not good with words. (20q don’t care how many well reviewed and commercially successful books or plays you write, Steve Martin!)
  • Daniel Radcliffe is good with words.
  • Emma Thompson has never been married to someone famous. (Suck it, Kenneth Branagh!)
  • Harrison Ford is eccentric, violent, and good at working a crowd.
  • John Steinbeck’s big break was on a TV show.
  • Drew Barrymore is not a producer.  Also, she is not young.
  • Jennifer Aniston is young.  (Note: IMDb says that Drew Barrymore was born in 1975 and Jennifer Aniston was born in 1969.)
  • Paul Rudd is moody, has never been on a hit TV show, and was not popular in the 90s.  (Ok, I think I must have played right after some angry ex-girlfriends of his played over and over again.)

Finally, my favorite thing that 20q told me is that it is “confused” about Chuck Woolery.  Aren’t we all, 20q? Aren’t we all.

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