Chess-playing automaton remembered

Great CNN review of a book about the famous Victorian hoax chess-playing automaton.

Charles Babbage, the godfather of the computer, played two games against the Turk. Edgar Allan Poe, the creator of the modern detective story, wrote an notable essay about it. Magicians based illusions on it. And it provoked questions about what we now call "artificial intelligence."

So, even after someone finally figured out how the Turk worked — that, yes, there was a man inside this contraption — its place in history was secure.

Except that, aside from books about oddities and curiosities, the Turk has been mostly forgotten by history. Tom Standage seeks to correct that oversight with his new biography of the machine, "The Turk" (Walker & Co.).



(Thanks, Grad!)