Posts tagged ‘semantle’


The Things We Guess

For some reason I vaguely think of Mastermind as annoyingly confusing, due I think to edge-cases that are problems only in my imagination. Like, what if the target has two reds, but the probe has three, one of which is in the position that’s red in the target, and another one is…

As it turns out, this is not really a problem in practice, and people play the game all the time without having to have a philosophical debate about what response is correct in any actual case.

In Mastermind, the target can be any pattern of N colored dots, each of which is one of K colors; N=4 and K=6 for the standard game. In the “Word Mastermind” variant, the target is a three or four letter word in some language (English, say), and one is competing with the other player, so it’s okay if it takes lots of guesses, which is good because while a probe response may tell you that you have two letters exactly right, it doesn’t tell you which two.

8kCuxwZ7yVum6FPWordle (you probably know about Wordle, and apologies if you’re in the “Everyone shut up about Wordle!!!” camp) is a clever variant, in that rather than just being told how many “right thing in the right place” and “right thing in the wrong place” you have, you’re told, for each position in the probe, which kind of thing it is (right thing in right place, right thing in wrong place, or wrong thing entirely). This makes the problem much easier; what makes it much harder again is that you get only six probes (😱). It also has social-engineering stuff that turns out to be great, like there being only one per day, everyone getting the same one, and it being easy to share your results.

With those subtle but brilliant changes out there, a whole bunch of related “lots of information per probe, but limited probes, share to Twitter” (as well as some broader variants) games come into view, and given that we are all still bored out of our minds and at the same time overstimulated, many have caught on. All I’m really doing here other than talking to hear my own voice, is listing the ones that I’ve been playing more or less regularly. :) There are surely lots more (I’ve vaguely heard of a sound-based one, for instance, but never tried it); feel free to mention in comments!

I have I think a legitimately perfect record at Wordle itself, partly due to luck. I have a starting word that I always use, that I’m sure isn’t optimal but I don’t care :) and I always play in hard mode because although I can imagine a situation in which it would be a good idea to use one of my precious probes on a word that I know is wrong, it seems unlikely that it’ll ever occur. (The example in the image included here may be the closest I’ve come to that, but I prevailed!)

I have a not-nearly-perfect record at Octordle, which is just (“just”) eight Wordle boards at once, with just one additional guess allowed for each additional board (so 13 total). I do feel like I’m getting better over time, so that’s good. In general I’m not patient enough to plan my next probe with reference to more than like two boards at once, though, so winning for me mostly depends on winning each board with few enough probes that I have enough left for the rest. Or something like that.

(I gather that there is a four-board version also, but I haven’t played that more than once or twice. All or nothing, eh? YOLO and all!)

There’s the adversarial Wordle Absurdle, which is funny and evil, from qntm of the incredible Antimimetics Division stories. It doesn’t actually choose a word, it just gives as negative as possible a response to your probes, without eliminating all possible words. Which (unless I’ve missed a twist) means that for a given set of probes it always returns the same thing. The fun there is… I’m not sure exactly; maybe seeing how you can steer negatively through the space of words, and where you end up.

Going from words to numbers, we have Nerdle, which is just the same :) except that there are eight slots, the alphabet is 0123456789, +-*/, and =, and the target and valid probes are valid arithmetic equations (with exactly one “=” as the last non-digit symbol, for that matter, although that might not be required of probes I dunno). This is fun, feels the same as and also different from Wordle, and I think I have a perfect record there also so far.

Then jumping rather far (but there are lots and lots of directions!) there is Semantle. Here the probes are basically any word at all (although if it’s a word the game doesn’t know, you’ll get no signal), and the responses to the probes are similarity measures, in some similarity metric derived by some AI from some big corpus of news stories or something. You get as many guesses as you want; the instructions say it takes “dozens” (hahaha), and I think my best is like sixty-something, and typical is like a couple of hundred.

Playing Semantle is interesting; it’s feeling around in a very-high-dimensional space for the center of a big N-sphere, given just linear distance measurements, where the distance measure is a lot like our own feeling of concept relatedness, but is also different from it in ways that one is also feeling out.

“Hey, those words are basically synonyms, how can they have completely different distances from the target?” And then sometimes there’s an “Oh, that sense of the word” moment and you realize why, and other times there isn’t and you think maybe the AI is just weird.

I’ve definitely failed on Semantle, in the sense of wandering off before solving it, and then not wandering back until the next day when that one had expired.

So my routine now is that as soon as I think of it in a day, I do Wordle relatively quickly, start working on the day’s Semantle, and then or perhaps in parallel do the Octordle and/or Nerdle when I think of it. And occasionally go and poke at Absurdle just for fun. :)


And all like that there

Back in the day (and especially back in the day), I used to just, y’know, chat a lot more than I do now. Rather than posting a particular thing about a particular thing, or a bunch of AI-generated images or whatever.

Speaking of which:

Ink on Rice Paper: Cozy

Why that is associated with “cozy”, I don’t know. Which is part of the fascination of this; exploring the odd mind of the AI. (See also of course GPT-3 and additionally Semantle for that matter, in the textual sort of area.)

I don’t think I’ve linked to semantle before, so there you go! I’ve become very much in the Wordle habit (even in the New York Times period here) (haven’t lost one yet!), and Semantle is also fun. It’s much harder, but on the other hand you get an infinite number of guesses. I realize in writing this that I got distracted and didn’t get yesterday’s, although I was within like two or three words of it.

(Long pause here while I do today’s Semantle in a mere 442 guesses, hahahaha. Toward the end there I was just typing random words that sprang to mind. In retrospect, though, it makes sense and I should have gotten it quicker.)

I also I used to use other fonts and stuff more often, because that is fun, and I used to write in raw html rather than in this WordPress environment here, which gets easily confused if you try to do anything too fancy, and often just deletes random markup that one might add in raw mode, oh well. Also it often looks radically different on my phone than on the computer here, in ways that I don’t have the patience or energy to look into to understand.

(Like, will this be in a different color everywhere? I dunno!)

I am reminiscing about Back In The Day, because for some reason that I can’t recall at the moment I was digging around in the ancient weblog on the personal site (whose front page still says “COMING SOON” and I really ought to fix that) looking for a particular funny story, and I read all various old entries while looking for it.

And also, I found it! Here is a copy of it, as well as that link there. The context (also interesting in itself) is a journal that I needed to get to someone in Indiana.

Then after lunch I took it down to the “Post Office”, where a lady agreed to take it to Indiana for me. I also had to buy her a little paper package to carry it there in. (That seemed sort of odd; why didn’t she just factor the package into the price of the service, the way she presumably does with gas fare and stuff?)

I’m not sure she’s really got a viable business model going here; the price was so cheap! I mean, she agreed to take the journal to Indiana (a particular place in Indiana, even) for like six bucks (including the price of the little paper package). I gather that there’s an economy-of-scale thing here, that she waits until she’s got a bunch of things all going to Indiana, and takes them all at once, to save on travel costs. But she also promised to get it there in just two days, so if no one else comes in and wants her to take something to Indiana by Wednesday, she’ll have to go there on just my six bucks, and there’s no way that that’ll even cover her costs.

(She’s probably got to pay someone to keep the place open while she’s going to Indiana and back, also; and then there’s rent, and utilities, and all sorts of other stuff.)

Probably she’s selling at a loss right now to get people used to being able to send things cheap, and she’ll raise prices later, once she’s got mind share. Sorta like did so well!   *8)

Still, it was nice that she was still in business today, so I didn’t have to, like, drive to Indiana myself…

Apparently this lady or her successors are still in business, which is nice!

That journal was part of a project which is probably (although not certainly) the same as this 1000 Journals Project, about which there is apparently a book and a documentary and stuff, which is pretty cool. I had (briefly) number 278, about which the old weblog talks a bit. Do go take a look! I wonder if it still survives, somewhere out there. Or even in the book or documentary!

There is some extra space for eyes

So that was all fun to discover and reminisce about. (Ha, I’d forgotten that I scanned the whole thing and burned it onto CD (remember “CDs”?) and included a copy of it in a little paper slipcase inside the journal itself. How clever of me!!

Hi-Tech Comix!

One thing that’s rather different from Back In The Day (in addition to having less control over the HTML, and not being in the habit of doing one catch-all entry per day, with the date as the title), is that I no longer feel guilty about putting more-or-less-huge images in the weblog here. On the assumption, I guess, that hardly anyone is reading this on like a 4096 bps modem or something. (But if anyone is, or is otherwise bothered by all of the huge images, do let me know! You can even leave a comment right here in the weblog and I might notice it.)

I am still very enamored of NightCafe and the inexpressibly vast universe of images that it’s willing to create. It feels (still) like I’m a tiny kid wandering through a vast library of lavishly illustrated books, dashing joyfully from shelf to shelf, delighted and overwhelmed.

I felt roughly that way about GPT-3 for quite a while, too, only with words instead of pictures; and, as the structure of these words hints, I don’t really feel that way anymore, at least not at the moment. I’m not certain how or why, but one theory that I have is that I gradually came to realize that there is no “there” there; that is, as far as I can tell, when interacting with a GPT-3 or NovelAI model, it’s easy to feel like the funny and crazy and suggestive things make sense in light of some thoughts or model of the world or way of thinking, and that by continuing to interact with it, one will come to know more about that way of thinking, and that’s cool. But after interacting with it for awhile, that seems less likely, or at least it’s more like “this writes stuff superficially like random fanfiction but without even that much sense to it” than it is like “wow, this crazy alien being I’m talking to sure has some interesting ideas!”.

I can easily imagine the same kind of thing happening with NightCafe; looking at the panel from “Hi-Tech Comix!” up there, my first fascinated reaction is that those enigmatic machines and blurred speech bubbles must be About Something, must be Saying Something in some enigmatic language and universe into which the image offers us a preliminary glimpse. But perhaps one ultimately realizes that it isn’t; it’s just a mindless imitation of stuff on Flickr or whatever.

If indeed that’s all it is. :)

What else what else? The family still exists and prospers. The little daughter is working remotely from Queens for an IT company (“IT company”) and going to tango events again now that there are vaccines and things are opening up somewhat. M and the little boy and I still live here in the ‘burbs, but I went in to work in Chelsea a couple of days last week (yay!), and I intend to do the same this coming week.

It’s wild how, after living up here and barely visiting the City at all for decades, once I started working down there I fell in love with the place, and have been going somewhat crazy not being able to get in for months and months.

Ah, Chelsea, how I missed ya!

I skipped my usual bowl of cold cereal at home, and got a Bacon Egg an’ Cheese on a Roll, Salt, Pepper, Ketchup from the vendor on the way to work the other day. It was glorious.

So that is a nice completely random weblog entry, as in Back in the Day. Now I will probably generate many more images (Twitter link assuming it works, and NightCafe link similarly), and perhaps play some Computer Games (although I’m kind of plateaued on everything I play, including WoW and Satisfactory and No Man’s Sky, but that doesn’t always stop me), and perhaps read some books (Oh, I was thinking I should do a weblog entry on a couple of rather meta books that I finished lately, maybe I will some time), fight some entropy, and/or go for a walk in the sunny chilly day.

Blessed be!