11/21/2016 11:59 am ET Updated Nov 22, 2016

Let A Computer Guess What You're Drawing In This High-Tech Pictionary Game

Doodle "animal migration" in less than 20 seconds? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Have you ever wanted to play a fast-paced game of Pictionary, but don’t have any friends? Yeah, us, too.

Thanks to the team at Google, there’s now Quick, Draw!, an online game where a computer guesses what you’re doodling based on prompts including “motorbike,” “houseplant,” “pizza,” “foot” and more. It’s an addicting time-waster as well as a fun way to participate in AI learning.

Here’s how it works, according to the website: “You draw, and a neural network tries to guess what you’re drawing. Of course, it doesn’t always work. But the more you play with it, the more it will learn.” The developers in the above video explain that the technology used in the game is similar to that of Google Translate, which can identify handwritten characters. The computer “looks” at a drawing and attempts to identify it by recognizing patterns from previously viewed drawings.

Quick Draw

“You don’t look just at what the person drew, you look at how they actually drew it,” explains Henry Rowley, a machine learning researcher. “Which strokes did they make first, which direction did they draw them in.”

The robot revolution is here, it’s artistic, and it needs you to help it understand that a right-angle triangle is still a triangle. (In our experiments, the computer failed to do this.)

You can also play to see just how awful you are at depicting a diving board:

Quick Draw


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