An AI That Plays Pictochat

Researchers have utilised a popular drawing game, Pictionary, as a way of feeding an artificial intelligent program knowledge so that it is able to determine the object that is being displayed to it by players. The artificial intelligence researchers at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a non-profit lab in Seattle, successfully managed develop, trial and run a similar version of the game known as Iconary. The researchers built the program so that its very own AllenAI artificial intelligence would become more capable, enabling it to interpret more abstract and much more sophisticated drawings from pictures drawn entirely by people.

Iconary, the game made by the research team, was made available to the general public on the 5th of February. The idea was to encourage as many people to play it so that the research team could understand the limits of its AllenAI. They wanted to test how well it was able to interpret and analyse abstract images and how it would respond to pictures drawn from different people. By allowing the AllenAI to learn from real people, the researchers’ intent was for AllenAI to continue to develop common sense and logical reasoning.

Players are given the option to draw as well as guess what the AI is drawing.

Players are given the option to draw as well as guess what the AI is drawing.

On their website, the team states that "Iconary is one of the first times an AI system is paired in a collaborative game with a human player instead of antagonistically working against them." They go on to say "AllenAI is capable of both understanding and producing a nearly infinite combination of real-world scenarios represented in the phrases in Iconary, a compelling example of the potential of common sense for AI and the power of human-AI collaboration."

Players are given the choice as to what they want to draw but also have to guess an image that the AllenAI itself has drawn. These levels of complexity and sorted in ascending levels of difficulty, ranging from a person kicking a ball to a concert or big event. Essentially, the main intent is that players draw something that the AI has never and must either guess from images drawn by the human player, or convey them to the human through its own series of images.

With companies working on artificial intelligence and experimenting on it in many different ways it seems that artificial intelligence may have an application in almost anything and everything. Its usefulness is proving to be a valuable tool in workplaces and people’s lives by increasing efficiency and getting the job done in the most ideal manner. With researchers sharing news that they are able to create AI that is capable of understanding abstract images, this may be a stepping stone for what is to be a big breakthrough in our understanding of AI.

Zacharia Sharif