The Mechanical Turk
The Mechanical Turk was a fake chess-playing machine constructed in the late 18th century. From 1770 until its destruction by fire in 1854 it was exhibited by various owners as an automaton, though it was eventually revealed to be an elaborate hoax. Constructed and unveiled in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen (1734–1804) to impress Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, the mechanism appeared to be able to play a strong game of chess against a human opponent, as well as perform the knight's tour, a puzzle that requires the player to move a knight to occupy every square of a chessboard exactly once.
The Turk was in fact a mechanical illusion that allowed a human chess master hiding inside to operate the machine. With a skilled operator, the Turk won most of the games played during its demonstrations around Europe and the Americas for nearly 84 years.
In 2005, Amazon launched the Amazon Mechanical Turk. The Web-based software application coordinates programming tasks with human intelligence, inspired in part by the way Kempelen's Turk operated. The program is designed to have humans perform tasks with which computers struggle, such as color comparisons.
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