Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Matchbox menace

Specifications have been written up that allow you to send data using carrier pigeons. Some people have tried sending data this way and it worked (kind of) though was very slow. It took almost two hours to send 64 bytes of data.

What it does show is that, if you get the rules right, they can be instantiated in almost any form you like. AI troublemaker John Searle proposed building a machine out of empty beer cans which would be noisy, spectacular and slow too.

A few years ago James Bridle built a machine to play noughts and crosses out of matchboxes. He can't claim credit for the original idea (that belongs to Donald Michie) but he did make one that works.  The name of this fabulous beast? Menace (Matchbox Educable Noughts And Crosses Engine).

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