AI from the 1770s

Atlas Obscura brings us the tale of The Turk, a Mechanical Chess Player that Unsettled the World:

“The most outlandish tale of a hidden operator comes from Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, a French magician who encountered the Turk in 1844—long after its heyday. In his 1859 memoirs, Robert-Houdin passed on the Turk’s origin story—a clearly apocryphal tale that he nonetheless described in great detail. According to Robert-Houdin, von Kempelen was in Russia during the 1790s when he met a doctor named Osloff. The doctor was sheltering a fugitive Polish soldier, Worousky, whose legs had been blasted away by a cannonball. This soldier happened to be a gifted chess player. So von Kempelen did what anyone would do in the situation: spent three months building a fradulent humanoid automaton chess player machine equipped with a cabinet large enough to house Worousky, thereby smuggling him out of Russia to safety by touring the automaton through major cities. A foolproof plan if ever there was one.”

Hahahaha! Read the rest here: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/object-of-intrigue-the-turk

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s