Tuesday, September 13, 2011

charming things: akinator, the app




Last night when I got home from screening "I Don't Know How She Does It" L. and I collapsed together on the couch.

"How was your night?" L. asked. I cuddled up next to him with the puppy on top of us.

"Fun!" I said. "Tomato soup at Nordstrom followed by a good movie."

"I bought you an app, " he said reaching for my iPad.

"Is it a boy app?" I asked. L. likes to buy me apps that help me do practical things like not get lost, make me smarter or coordinate my music. I prefer apps that make me laugh or keep me busy when I am impatiently waiting.

"No, it's not a boy app. Cayr (L's older sister in Massachusetts) found it. We played it tonight and it's wild. You'll love it."

L. handed me the iPad and slid my reading glasses on me.  On the screen a genie appeared beckoning me to play. The app: Think of a character and after asking a few yes or no questions Akinator would tell you who you are thinking of.

I started to play. I whispered to L. "Cary Grant." Akinator asked me questions like "Is your character real?" (yes) " Is your character female?" (no) "Has your character been dead more than 20 years?" (I don't know) etc. In 12 guesses Akinator guessed Cary Grant. I was flabbergasted.  Next we tried the Pope, Fred Flintstone, my grandfather and Helen Keller. As the Akinator was computing his answer after asking us questions I said to L. "If this thing guesses Helen Keller, it's magic." Helen Keller's face appeared on the screen! I tossed the iPad to L. "How is it doing THIS?" I asked.  It was freaking me out. L. tried to tell me it was all about statistics.

"No," I said. "This is freaky magic." I whispered "He is listening to us, right? That's how he's doing it, right?" I held my hand up to cover my mouth so Akinator couldn't see what I was saying.

"You know Akinator can't see you, right?" L. asked. He shook his head. "He. Can't. See. You. He. Can't. Hear. You." He kissed my forehead. "You know what? I love you," he said.

We played again and again and again and it got every one of the characters correct, even Lassie. It was blowing our minds. Statistics or magic, whatever it is it's fun and it's happy.

If you have an Apple iPad or iPhone, download the app now here. It's a happy thing.

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