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TheMechanical
TurkPhantoms
“Archives, Access
& Artificial Intelligence”
London 15-17 January 2020
Liviu Pop
The Folklore Archive
of the Romanian Academy
Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash
TheTurk(1770-1854)
For a more detailed depicton please access:
https://romantic-circles.org/gallery/chess-player
Human pretending to be a machine
Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen (1769)
TheTurk(1770-1854)
For a more detailed depicton please access:
https://romantic-circles.org/gallery/chess-player
First algorithm solved by (fake) AI
The knight's tour
Year2018
Sold as a an artificial intelligence-
powered virtual assistant
Google Duplex calls in your name
Year2018
Sold as a an artificial intelligence-
powered virtual assistant
Google Duplex calls in your name
In other words, Duplex, which Google first
showed off last year as a technological
marvel using A.I., is still largely operated by
humans. While A.I. services like Google’s
are meant to help us, their part-machine,
part-human approach could contribute to a
mounting problem: the struggle to decipher
the real from the fake, from bogus reviews
and online disinformation to bots posing as
people.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/22/
technology/personaltech/ai-google-
duplex.html
Year2014
Sold as a Virtual Assistant AI
Alexa on dedicated devices
Year2014
Sold as a Virtual Assistant AI
Alexa on dedicated devices
Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of
people around the world to help improve
the Alexa digital assistant powering its line
of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice
recordings captured in Echo owners’
homes and offices. The recordings are
transcribed, annotated and then fed back
into the software as part of an effort to
eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of
human speech and help it better respond to
commands. 
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
articles/2019-04-10/is-anyone-listening-
to-you-on-alexa-a-global-team-reviews-
audio
Year2011
First wide spread voice assistant
Siri on iPhone 4
Year2011
First wide spread voice assistant
Siri on iPhone 4
Although Apple does not explicitly disclose it in
its consumer-facing privacy documentation, a
small proportion of Siri recordings are passed
on to contractors working for the company
around the world. They are tasked with grading
the responses on a variety of factors, including
whether the activation of the voice assistant was
deliberate or accidental, whether the query was
something Siri could be expected to help with
and whether Siri’s response was appropriate.
https://www.theguardian.com/
technology/2019/jul/26/apple-
contractors-regularly-hear-confidential-
details-on-siri-recordings#maincontent
"SomethingShe
CalledaFever"
Carolyn Steedman
Year2364
Data meets his evil brother
Star Trek Season 1 Episode 13 (1988)
Year2029
Cyborgs as puppets
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
ROBOTA(1960s)
Funny robots,robots mimicking humans
Stanislaw Lem (1921-2006)
Inthefuture
Human transferred into a machine
Metropolis (1927)
Tipu'sTiger(1780s-1790s)
Automaton attacking a fake human
Comissioned by the Tipu Sultan
https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/tipus-tiger
TheMonk(1560)
For a more detailed depicton
please access:
https://americanhistory.si.edu/
collections/search/object/
nmah_855351
A monk that prays
Built for Charles V of Spain
TheGolem
A creature created from clay and written words
Jewish folklore
Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague (known as the Maharal; 1525-1609)
https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/golem/
Year2367
Data meets his creator after he is
summoned.
Star Trek Season 4 Episode 3 (1990)
Year2367
Data becames himself again.
Star Trek Season 4 Episode 3 (1990)
Year2367
Data meets his creator after he is
summoned.
Star Trek Season 4 Episode 3 (1990)Mirrors mirrors
Year1927/2364
Are we in the same golem paradigm?
Thankyou
@liviu_pop

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The Phantoms of the Mechanical Turk

  • 1. TheMechanical TurkPhantoms “Archives, Access & Artificial Intelligence” London 15-17 January 2020 Liviu Pop The Folklore Archive of the Romanian Academy Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash
  • 2. TheTurk(1770-1854) For a more detailed depicton please access: https://romantic-circles.org/gallery/chess-player Human pretending to be a machine Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen (1769)
  • 3. TheTurk(1770-1854) For a more detailed depicton please access: https://romantic-circles.org/gallery/chess-player First algorithm solved by (fake) AI The knight's tour
  • 4. Year2018 Sold as a an artificial intelligence- powered virtual assistant Google Duplex calls in your name
  • 5. Year2018 Sold as a an artificial intelligence- powered virtual assistant Google Duplex calls in your name In other words, Duplex, which Google first showed off last year as a technological marvel using A.I., is still largely operated by humans. While A.I. services like Google’s are meant to help us, their part-machine, part-human approach could contribute to a mounting problem: the struggle to decipher the real from the fake, from bogus reviews and online disinformation to bots posing as people. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/22/ technology/personaltech/ai-google- duplex.html
  • 6. Year2014 Sold as a Virtual Assistant AI Alexa on dedicated devices
  • 7. Year2014 Sold as a Virtual Assistant AI Alexa on dedicated devices Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/ articles/2019-04-10/is-anyone-listening- to-you-on-alexa-a-global-team-reviews- audio
  • 8. Year2011 First wide spread voice assistant Siri on iPhone 4
  • 9. Year2011 First wide spread voice assistant Siri on iPhone 4 Although Apple does not explicitly disclose it in its consumer-facing privacy documentation, a small proportion of Siri recordings are passed on to contractors working for the company around the world. They are tasked with grading the responses on a variety of factors, including whether the activation of the voice assistant was deliberate or accidental, whether the query was something Siri could be expected to help with and whether Siri’s response was appropriate. https://www.theguardian.com/ technology/2019/jul/26/apple- contractors-regularly-hear-confidential- details-on-siri-recordings#maincontent
  • 11. Year2364 Data meets his evil brother Star Trek Season 1 Episode 13 (1988)
  • 12. Year2029 Cyborgs as puppets Ghost in the Shell (1995)
  • 13. ROBOTA(1960s) Funny robots,robots mimicking humans Stanislaw Lem (1921-2006)
  • 14. Inthefuture Human transferred into a machine Metropolis (1927)
  • 15. Tipu'sTiger(1780s-1790s) Automaton attacking a fake human Comissioned by the Tipu Sultan https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/tipus-tiger
  • 16. TheMonk(1560) For a more detailed depicton please access: https://americanhistory.si.edu/ collections/search/object/ nmah_855351 A monk that prays Built for Charles V of Spain
  • 17. TheGolem A creature created from clay and written words Jewish folklore Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague (known as the Maharal; 1525-1609) https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/golem/
  • 18. Year2367 Data meets his creator after he is summoned. Star Trek Season 4 Episode 3 (1990)
  • 19. Year2367 Data becames himself again. Star Trek Season 4 Episode 3 (1990)
  • 20. Year2367 Data meets his creator after he is summoned. Star Trek Season 4 Episode 3 (1990)Mirrors mirrors Year1927/2364 Are we in the same golem paradigm?