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Play Iconary, a simple drawing game that hides a deceptively deep AI


It may not seem like it takes a lot of smarts to play a game like Pictionary, but in fact it involves a lot of subtle and abstract visual and linguistic skills. This AI built to play a game like it is similarly complex, and its interpretations and creations when you play it (as you can now) may seem eerily human — but it’s also refreshing to have such an agent working collaboratively with you rather than beating you with superhuman skills.

Iconary, as the game’s creators at the Allen Institute for AI decided to call it to avoid lawsuits from Mattel, has you drawing and arranging icons to form phrases, or guessing at the arrangements of the computer player.

For instance, if you were to get the phrase “woman drinking milk from a glass,” you’d probably draw a woman — a stick figure, probably, and then select the “woman” icon from the computer’s interpretations of your sketch. Then you’d draw a glass, and place that near the woman. Then… milk? How do you draw milk? There is actually a milk bottle icon if you look for it, but you could also draw a cow and put that in or next to the glass.