The Weekly Authority: Google Pixel self-repair is coming – Android Authority

Google Pixel 6 Pro back camera bump close-up with red plants in the background

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⚡ Welcome to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 189th edition here, with Google’s Pixel self-repair program, a  first official look at OnePlus’ Nord N20, and the 2022 BAFTA Games Award winners.

🥚 It feels like Easter eggs have been on the shelves for months, but Easter’s finally next weekend, so I’m off to see if there are any left at the store… wish me luck!

Popular news this week

Google:

OnePlus:

Samsung:

Motorola:

  • Motorola already has another Moto G Stylus on the way, with 5G, performance, and screen improvements, same beefy battery and camera.

Apple:

Space:

Elsewhere:

Movies/TV:

severance

Apple tv plus

Gaming:

returnal

Reviews

Realme GT2 Pro on top of a table showing back panel

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Features

Weekly Wonder

the turk atlas obscura

Earlier I mentioned investment in A.I. has more than doubled — which brought to mind a strange story I read in The Smithsonian about a sort-of artificial intelligence from history. Back in the 70s — the 1770s, that is — a European inventor by the name of Wolfgang von Kempelen showed off his latest creation: a robotic chess player.

Known officially as “The Automaton Chess Player,” the machine later came to be known as the “Mechanical Turk” or “The Turk.” The Turk looked like a mechanical man wearing robes and a turban, sitting atop a wooden cabinet overlaid with a chessboard, and was designed to play chess against anyone game enough to challenge him.

the mechanical turk

The machine toured Europe and beat the likes of Benjamin Franklin before arriving in America in April 1826. More than a hundred people gathered to see its unveiling in New York. From the New York Evening Post: “Nothing of a similar nature has ever been seen in this city, that will bear the smallest comparison with it.

  • People weren’t only curious about how the machine worked, but also, mainly due to its arrival in the middle of the Industrial Revolution, questions began to be asked about what kind of work machines may be able to do, and how many human jobs or functions they could replace in future.
  • The Turk was really good at Chess, responding to unpredictable moves and human behavior, so that it appeared to be “operating autonomously, guided by its own sense of rationality and reason.”
  • Try and cheat and the Turk would simply move the Chess piece back to its previous position. More than one attempt saw him swipe his arm over the board, sending the pieces flying.

Despite the Turk’s skills, or perhaps because of them, most people didn’t believe it was a real machine. Automatons were nothing new at the time. Mechanical animals like the “Digesting Duck,” which pooped out pellets after being fed, already drew crowds at events.

The Turk arm

The inner workings of the Turk’s arm.

A young Edgar Allen Poe was inspired by The Turk in 1836, penning the essay “Maelzel’s Chess Player,” which pointed out that the machine would win every time if it was a “pure machine.” Others, like British author Philip Thicknesse, were also vocal about the hoax.

It turned out Poe was right… well, kind of. He’d initially thought that a small man or young boy crawled into the body of the Turk, operating it from within.

The Museum of Hoaxes revealed the truth:

“A series of sliding panels and a rolling chair allowed the automaton’s operator to hide while the interior of the machine was being displayed. The operator then controlled the Turk by means of a ‘pantograph’ device that synchronized his arm movements with those of the wooden Turk. Magnetic chess pieces allowed him to know what pieces were being moved on the board above his head.”

But why is this so interesting to us today? Well, this was likely one of the early steps on the path towards A.I. In 1819, Charles Babbage saw the Turk play when it toured England. Three years later, he went on to work on the Difference Engine, a machine that calculated and tabulated mathematical functions automatically.

And the Turk? Sadly it ended up forgotten in the Chinese Museum in Philadelphia by the 1850s, and was destroyed by fire in 1854.

Tech Calendar

  • April 11: Vivo X Fold unveiling (China only)
  • April 20: Meta Quest Gaming Showcase @ 10 AM PT
  • May 9-11: Qualcomm 5G Summit (San Diego)
  • May 11-12: Google I/O 2022
  • June 6-10: Apple WWDC 2022

Tech Tweet of the Week

One hundred people are part of a federal class action lawsuit against Burger King for misrepresenting burger sizes by 35%.

See you next week!

Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.

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