Fauxtomation and the Mechanical Turk

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A still from "The Moderators"

The Mechanical Turk was a chess-playing machine, an automaton that wowed audiences across Europe from 1770 until 1854, when it was destroyed by fire. Only trouble? It never was an automaton. Eventually it was unmasked as a mechanical illusion, an elaborate hoax. Hidden inside was the real operator, a human chessmaster.

The Turk reminds me a bit of the artificial intelligence actually being used by some so-called hi-tech businesses at the moment. You see, behind all the smoke and mirrors another trick may be going on: their artificial intelligence may be not quite as artificial as you think. Continue reading