How to Play Twenty Questions with Nature and Win
The 20 Questions Game played by children has an impressive record of rapidly guessing an arbitrarily selected object with rather few, well-chosen questions. This same strategy can be used to drive the perceptual process, likewise beginning the search with the intent of deciding whether the object is Animal-Vegetable-or-Mineral. For a perceptual system, however, several simple questions are required even to make this first judgment as to the Kingdom the object belongs. Nevertheless, the answers to these first simple questions, or their modular outputs, provide a rich data base which can serve to classify objects or events in much more detail than one might expect, thanks to constraints and laws imposed upon natural processes and things. The questions, then, suggest a useful set of primitive modules for initializing perception.