Hello, human person
February 16, 2018 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Can you come up with the same answer as a robot in this word association game?
posted by jeather (79 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
This is just infuriating.
"Something related to both pope and papal"
posted by Nossidge at 8:21 AM on February 16, 2018 [7 favorites]

We started with "shitty noodle" and it all went downhill from there, circling around "toxic fart" and "hurl poison."
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:24 AM on February 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

On my next try, we did it!

Round - Me - You
1 - calcium - ghost
2 - skeletal - skeleton
3 - bones - bones
posted by Nossidge at 8:28 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

"Odd combination... This should be fun! Think we can find something related to both male and spunk?"

posted by bassomatic at 8:31 AM on February 16, 2018 [9 favorites]

42 attempts. I made a rule to not repeat words, and we wandered through legal terms (since it started with conviction and that was the way I went), then from pled through a range of verbs starting with asking, passing through killing to studying, then wandering through drama for a while. Theater/theatre finally led to agreement on cinema.
posted by Four Ds at 8:32 AM on February 16, 2018

I could not match that stupid robot. I finally gave up when we reached an impasse at SMS - text, and I wrote "message" and it decided on "email."
posted by xyzzy at 8:33 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

And 3!

1. gospel - question
2. interrogation - heresy
3. inquisition - inquisition
posted by Four Ds at 8:33 AM on February 16, 2018

31 tries, starting from floor and hamburger. I repeated words a few times due to lack of imagination. Finally matched on 'roam'.
posted by mefireader at 8:46 AM on February 16, 2018

1 comfort sweet
2 pleasant home
3 comfy house
4 abode mansion
5 residence castle
6 chateau king
7 palace french
8 fontainebleau versailles
9 paris paris

Oui oui!
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:49 AM on February 16, 2018

we started with 'constitutional' and 'cumulus' and eventually, by the tenth round, agreed on 'misty'
this feels like a metaphor for something but i couldn't say what
posted by halation at 8:50 AM on February 16, 2018

ha! This is great

1 trend coffee
2 hipster hipster
posted by creade at 9:07 AM on February 16, 2018 [15 favorites]

I’ve played this in improv class with other humans! Amusing to see it work at about the same level of efficacy...
posted by fast ein Maedchen at 9:08 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

i played this game over new years and was thinking it would be fascinating to see how computers cope with it!

very cool!
posted by vogon_poet at 9:14 AM on February 16, 2018

If they don't even know the word circumlocution, I don't want to play.
posted by aubilenon at 9:17 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also I've played this with people, and this robot's not very good at it.
posted by aubilenon at 9:18 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

It was a bit difficult for me, we started at | tangible - back |, made our way around some unnecessary words like posteriorly and caudal, and eventually winded up at cake
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:19 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

15 rounds to get from doing/easy to pie/pie, with a long ramble through the kitchen and several near misses in the middle.
posted by merriment at 9:20 AM on February 16, 2018

Robot -- Me

1 axe -- quintessence
2 essence -- epiphany
3 incarnation -- Christmas
4 advent -- sacrifice
5 passover -- scarify
6 holi -- blood
7 rajput -- redemption
8 bhagat -- transcendence
9 vedanta -- Indian
10 hindu -- guru
11 krishna -- yogi
12 singh -- blue
13 indigo -- indigo

WTF??? I am impressed by that last connection, but verrrry suspicious.
posted by darkstar at 9:23 AM on February 16, 2018

and eventually winded up at cake

Don't we all, though, really?
posted by darkstar at 9:24 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Second try:
skipper - directory
logbook - log

and then devolved into things like "shetchbook, journal, diary, paper, pencil, note, memo". Seems like there's a lot of just getting into the same thing where it could easily be 15 different words
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:24 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

In one round, I started off with "president," while the robot started off with "Jew." We landed in Israel, where after some time, it became apparent that there was never going to be an agreement.
posted by Miss Cellania at 9:31 AM on February 16, 2018 [11 favorites]

Ok, i think I'm starting to get it. It started with |persistent - cake| and went to |flaky - timer| and I thought "huh, that makes sense, flaky is the opposite of persistent, and baked goods are frequently described as flaky". So I guessed 'bake', and so did the robot. Got it in 3 tries!

1 persistent cake
2 flaky timer
3 bake bake
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:31 AM on February 16, 2018

I gave up at 24 when we were thinking about football and championship; I threw Superbowl and the robot said monteith* (which I now see is so esoteric that even Chrome's spellchecker doesn't recognize it).

* a large silver punchbowl with a scalloped rim.
posted by achrise at 9:38 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

The robot is rather centrist at best, if not decidedly neoliberal. Or at least that's been my experience so far.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 9:41 AM on February 16, 2018

I did it in three! I am a robot!

Our minds have melded! Let’s remember our journey to connection:

1 enhancement hello
2 regards greetings
3 salutations salutations
posted by leesh at 9:43 AM on February 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

Ok like no matter what I do I'm on my 4th go around here and the robot/algorithm/whatever just wants to drag the "discourse" down a level at every opportunity. It's like arguing with people on twitter. I know it's pretty meaningless all up but I'm still disheartened.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 9:57 AM on February 16, 2018

1 sonic crumpet
2 hedgehogs foam
3 mousse octopus
4 sponge sponge
posted by waninggibbon at 10:21 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wait...are we training robots to be good at improv?
posted by theefixedstars at 10:24 AM on February 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

alright... I'm up to step #115 where I go Beans->Thinking->Overthinking->Plate.

There's no end in sight, but I can tell it is still learning an association... it just needs help. *cough*
posted by Nanukthedog at 10:26 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I got tired of chasing it around with financial vocabulary, so I redirected it.

1 generous pizza
2 gratuity pie
3 dessert tax
4 excise bill
5 levy tax
6 revenue charge
7 expenses earnings
8 income money
9 cash turtle
10 clams turtle
11 conch turtle
12 tortoise turtle
13 snail turtle
14 shells turtle
15 shellfish turtle
16 lobster turtle
17 crab crab
posted by waninggibbon at 10:28 AM on February 16, 2018 [8 favorites]

Is this teaching an algorithm to preemptively predict text?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:36 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

In my second round we got to associate tick and tock (so close) , I said clock and it said timer, and I just threw up my hands.
posted by achrise at 10:37 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

OK GO (yes, that OK GO) used to have an app version of this that you could play asynchronously with friends (or strangers) called Say The Same Thing. It was fun, but doesn't seem to be on the iOS app store anymore.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:38 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think the robot is better with computing than with anatomy and medicine.

Round - Me - You
1 - hacking - cloud
2 - computing - phone
3 - smartphones - apple
4 - iphone - iphone

Round - Me - You
1 - crippled - uterus
2 - emasculated - endometriosis
3 - ovaries - surgery
4 - mastectomy - cyst
5 - tumor - lumpectomy
6 - tumour - cancer
7 - malignant - malignant
posted by stillmoving at 10:48 AM on February 16, 2018

internet creatures of all varieties are good at felines:

Round Me You
1 blues kitten
2 tabby siamese
3 cat cat
posted by taz at 10:49 AM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Pyruvate?? Where the hell does the robot expect me to go with pyruvate?
posted by mudpuppie at 11:36 AM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Is this teaching an algorithm to preemptively predict text?

Not currently as far as I can tell from the code. A machine learning algorithm was used (offline) to generate some representations of words that allow words to be compared for similarity of meaning. It chooses the next word based on overall frequency and similarity to the previous, trading off those two criteria depending on how close it was to your word previously.
posted by vogon_poet at 11:38 AM on February 16, 2018

I bet it would be really cool to use even a simple reinforcement learning agent though!
posted by vogon_poet at 11:38 AM on February 16, 2018

Hmm... it didn't get to my answer - not even after this... I'm a little concerned that this thing has no idea what I view as logically connected words.

1 reasoning Put
2 posit The
3 presumes Cat
4 assumes In
5 whereas The
6 thus Microwave
7 shortwave I
8 am Want
9 ll yum
10 betcha yum
11 woohoo time.
12 meantime cat
13 kitties is
14 coz good
15 sexy eating
16 delicious very
17 delightfully tasty
18 pleasantly on
19 upon my
20 thy tummy
21 bosom burp
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:40 AM on February 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

Got it in two:
1. Python Spider
2. Snake Snake
posted by bashos_frog at 11:54 AM on February 16, 2018

1 gun boat
2 gunboat gunboat

Well, that was easy.
posted by one of these days at 11:56 AM on February 16, 2018 [10 favorites]

1 sweater dog
2 collars fur
3 coats neck
4 sleeves fur
5 jacket coat
6 blazer vest
7 blouse tie
8 shirt shirt
posted by NoMich at 12:29 PM on February 16, 2018

  1. mouse -- ambassador
  2. rat -- rat
posted by Aleyn at 12:30 PM on February 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

Funny - 17 for me. Started with Opressed - Cake and melded on Crumb.
posted by Ashwagandha at 1:03 PM on February 16, 2018

I've played this in person before! Pretty fun.

However, partner and I have retired from play since we will never top the time we finished in one round:



[simultaneously] "98.6"
posted by little cow make small moo at 1:17 PM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

1 dumb candy
2 cookies cavities
3 toffee sugar
4 caramel caramel

Seems legit.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:21 PM on February 16, 2018

It said Saber, I said Tooth.

How did it not say Tiger. It said Teeth.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:38 PM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

30 rounds starting on adapt/waterfall and ending on wool/wool. Naturally.

I thought "Noah" would be obvious after moniker/flood, but the robot didn't see it that way.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:49 PM on February 16, 2018

"The goal is to achieve mind meld: to say the same word simultaneously.
This first attempt failed, but don’t despair! Let’s try again: think of a word related to both cello and prostitution. I will too. Fingers crossed! 🤞"

Really, now some photonic chain runs a word Salon for the semi-intrepid. So I'm gonna say; tell me about your block chain and server nodes, any proclivities for improving ones self...need more power...yes.
posted by clavdivs at 1:55 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

1 lobby mustard
14 brick brick

That was fun!
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:59 PM on February 16, 2018

Ok, after playing around in various chemical terms and finally getting to sodium/chloride, how does anyone not say "salt"? (Robot's response: chlorine)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:02 PM on February 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

All three burn the eyes?
posted by clavdivs at 2:12 PM on February 16, 2018

"Ahh, so close! Let’s try again. Something related to both vigor and vigour."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:13 PM on February 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

Having fully explored the potential response space, I recommend you do not start with "butts".
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:15 PM on February 16, 2018

Nine rounds. I probably shouldn't have played while I was hungry. ;-)

1 feminine cookie
2 womanly pastry
3 quiche baker
4 cakes mommy
5 mum cupcakes
6 sweetie birthday
7 sweetheart love
8 beloved baby
9 darling darling
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 2:44 PM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Argh, so frustrating! Enough if your snark, robot! It is not unreasonable to associate scab with blood and clot. However, it is unreasonable to jump from microbiology and scientist to neurologist instead of microbiologist! After 53 rounds we're now at psycho and gestalt, which I don't even know what that means and I give up.
posted by carolr at 3:08 PM on February 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

omg this is infuriating and addictive!
posted by aka burlap at 4:13 PM on February 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

The robot has some concerns about the surveillance state:

1 optical baby
2 digital glasses
3 cameras monitor
4 surveillance phone
5 wiretap wiretap
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:54 PM on February 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

well I found this thing to be very frustrating and gave up pretty quickly.

on the other hand it did prompt me to realize I was being very judgmental about a computer's word associations so maybe being judgmental is a tendency I need to watch in myself
posted by mrmurbles at 5:22 PM on February 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

Two rounds!

1 stationary eyebrow
2 forehead forehead
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:31 PM on February 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

That went easier than I expected

1 torch concupiscence
2 flame flame
posted by aubilenon at 7:08 PM on February 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

Because I am not-so-secretly a third grade boy, my favorite exchange so far is

1 Exposed-penis
2 Vulva-naked
3 Nude-nude
posted by ActionPopulated at 7:34 PM on February 16, 2018

Last night when I tried this, the robot ended up talking about pubs in Edinburgh and running through a long list of male names, all presumably people it had gotten drunk (tipsy, intoxicated, inebriated) with (while also fessing up to a disconcerting combination of beer, stout, ale, lager, whisky and brandy).

I'd be like, are you talking about Angus? And the robot said no, Hamish. Alasdair? Nah, Gregor. Gordon? No, I think I was with Jamie. And then we went on to surnames. Macdonald? No, I think his name was McGonagle... Finally we somehow ended up agreeing the common theme in all these encounters was alcohol.

This morning we tried again, lazily throwing suggestions for a hangover breakfast, until we concluded that some onions, tomatoes, garlic and basil would make a nice salad, really.

Basically, it was like hanging out with a college roommate.
posted by sively at 1:00 AM on February 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

So many failed attempts I assumed the thing was broken. Read the above comments and learned that it works just fine and that I'm very bad at this game.

No doubt related: I've always suspected that improv involved some tricks, e.g., that those involved are somehow signalling the others—acting sleight-of-hand, so to speak. I just couldn't believe people could be so in-tune with others and fast on their feet with responses.
posted by she's not there at 2:58 AM on February 17, 2018

Basically, robot and I are of one mind, though I feel I'm doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the relationship.
posted by Prince Lazy I at 3:29 AM on February 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

My experience was one part fascinated delight, one part forehead-to-desk frustration.
I find you if you can think one step ahead and give yourself an incredibly obvious setup, the robot will usually cooperate:

1 resemblance knife
2 similarity cutting
3 splitting splitting

But sometimes it doesn't work so well

1 frame art
2 paintings picture
3 portrait self
4 selves self-portrait
5 themselves WTF
6 somethings stupid
7 silly stupid
8 foolish stupid
9 idiotic robot
10 mindless junk
11 trashy inanimate
12 lifeless scrap
13 discarded derelict
14 abandoned abandoned
posted by colin.jaquiery at 3:39 AM on February 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

I've had some absolutely minimal ones:

1 sky sun
2 plane plane

And sometimes I wonder why I keep going:

1 hey brains
2 thought frankenstein <- Yeah I ignored "hey"
3 envisioned electricity
4 charging photon
5 electrons laser
6 electrolysis maser <- We're both rephrasing ourselves
7 pulsed chemistry
8 nmr propulsion
9 physics accident <- My revenge for random "nmr"
10 collisions explosion
11 crash fast <- Ha! This is going to be over soon!
12 speeding car
13 driving race
14 motorsport winner
15 championship formula one
16 nascar money
17 omnium dtm <- Look I'm from europe! What is omnium?
18 enduro prize <- Come on that's not even a car
19 prix motorbike
20 kart stunt
21 wheelie mario
22 parkour film <- Ok so you don't know Mario Kart
23 footage bond
24 tape camera
25 videotape reel <- Geez, nobody uses that anymore
26 vhs tv <- OH COME ONE!
27 televisions netflix <- Let's get this into the present
28 telly internet <- You stubborn PROGRAMME!
29 network smart
30 wireless facebook
31 skype social
32 myspace voip <- Right so we're in 1990 now
33 isp chat
34 newsgroup aol <- 1980?
35 yahoo forum
36 blogs bulletin board
37 postings vlog
38 repost moderator
39 commenter reply
40 respond ban <- At least we're in the present now
41 oppose hate
42 dislike war <- I suppose this is leading nowhere - let's try another lead
43 hostility peace
44 rapprochement truce
45 ceasefire crime
46 killings christmas <- I see, then, one more lead
47 decorations death <- At this point I almost gave up
48 funerals black
49 mourning sarcophagus
50 caskets ash
51 cremated earth
52 unearthed fire
53 ignited volcano <- Volcano funerals! I have a business idea
54 erupted lava
55 volcanic cloud
56 cumulus ash
57 dust storm
58 sandstorm desert <- OH GO THAT WAS SO CLOSE AND I FUMBLE!
59 dunes weather
60 windswept sand
61 beachy dune
62 shoreline ocean
63 seaside swim
64 surf vacation <- Right we'll be done in a few more!
65 maui sun
66 solar hawaii
67 geothermal sail <- How... did that happen?
68 offshore power
69 onshore wind <- Offshore, onshore, really?
70 gusts windmill
71 breeze electricity
72 currents generator
73 voltage tide
74 surge watt
75 megawatt wave <- Haha, we're rephrasing each other
76 mw tsunami <- Repeat in frustration
77 fukushima powerplant <- Yeah ok we'll hit 100 or so
78 reactor catastrophe
79 meltdown meltdown <- YEPP MELTDOWN MELTDOWN!
posted by flamewise at 7:31 AM on February 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

1 ivory growl
2 tusk tusk

1 toilet round
2 wc commode
3 bathroom bathroom

These two were pretty good. BUT, this is obvs a male robot:

1 unreliable imaginary
2 nonexistent friend
3 girlfriends ghost
4 christmases fade
5 linger memories
6 reminisce reminisce
posted by taz at 10:10 AM on February 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Wait, what?

girlfriends + ghost = christmases???
posted by darkstar at 10:23 AM on February 17, 2018

like I said, male serial killer robot
posted by taz at 11:29 AM on February 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

I remember that Say The Same Thing app; my guess is that it’s probably not there anymore due to iOS 11. I would love something like it again, cause this game is fun but this robot is infuriating.
posted by Night_owl at 2:06 PM on February 17, 2018

I’m really kind of hoping it IS just a ploy to crowdsource teaching their A.I. about some of the more subtle nuances and semantic leaps of human cognition.

I mean, it’d be a pretty good way to go about it.
posted by darkstar at 4:04 PM on February 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Okay flamewise, now I don't feel so bad about my 53 round game.

We started with

(Robot): wiring (Me): doughnut

Went through a lot of baffling stuff like Major League Baseball teams, NHL teams, and then ended up with us both saying "goat" on round 53.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:34 PM on February 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


This time, 10 rounds. We started with razor and raven, spat out a lot of synonyms for lawns, and landed on a shared "prairie" on round 10.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:38 PM on February 17, 2018

Started with famine/calcium. I went broad with "food" for step two, the robot went specific with "nutrient" instead, and so we took a 25-step journey through nutrition and weight into various measurements and finally clicked on "kilometers".
posted by Thermopsis sp. at 10:07 AM on February 18, 2018

Our first game took forever, but now I think we got it:

1 tee coffee
2 tea tea
posted by ikalliom at 1:57 PM on February 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

Round Me You
1 felony deodorant
2 indecency corruption
3 obscenity scandal
4 sleaze pornography
5 smut smut
posted by jormundgondir at 4:21 PM on February 18, 2018

This robot is seriously making me lose my chill.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:44 PM on February 18, 2018

1 offspring apple
2 progeny eye
3 pupils child
4 preschool student
5 school kindergarten
6 classrooms teacher
7 classes blackboard
8 curriculum chalk
9 whiteboard study
10 homework school
11 homeroom assignment
12 reassignment bell
13 termination ding
14 ringing fire
15 alarm alarm

I was worried we were spinning out of control there, but we got it together.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:41 AM on February 19, 2018

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