Computer guessing games are not new by any means, but they often involve easily quantifiable variables like numbers or playing cards. Akinator, on the other hand, will guess (most) any character from film, TV, book or anime within a series of 20 questions. Oh, robots, is there nothing you can do?

I started off with an obvious choice inspired by Inglourious Basterds. Akinator may not have the gift behind the pen Tarantino does, but he can still correctly guess King Kong. So I tried something a little harder, the titular monster from John Carpenter's The Thing. An amorphous shapeshifter should throw it off course, right? Wrong, Akinator still got it. Same goes for Chev Chelios, John Connor, Stephen Hawking, Steven Spielberg, and even The Blob.

Obviously it'd be easy to stump the bot with something obscure like the baby from Eraserhead, but you'd be surprised at how intuitive the questioning can become and even more surprised when vague questions yield the right answer. Sure, I have no idea why Akinator thought Torrance Shipman from Bring It On when I was thinking the killer boygirl from Sleepaway Camp, but hey, can't win 'em all.

So if you're looking for a laugh and have some time to kill, give Akinator a shot with something tough. Oh, and I don't know how it works, but I'm confident the answer involves virgin blood, the horn of a unicorn and HAL 9000.
categories Sci-Fi