“Artificial Intelligence” a hundred years ago

  In the movie “Frankenstein”, we witnessed Frankenstein creating a thrilling scene of “people” with stolen human organs in order to verify his crazy biological concept. In the end, this Frankenstein was not able to Without destroying this “work” of his own hands, the story warns us that humans cannot act as God and create living beings. So, what about the “dead” life form?
  Every life has its own soul and can think independently. The mad scientist Frankenstein in the movie wants to create a complete person with his superb biological attainments, but finds that he is not a real “person” because he has no soul. Living organisms with flesh and blood are carbon-based organisms, and wanting to artificially create new carbon-based organisms is tantamount to fantasy. Therefore, mankind took a different path and gave inorganic matter a “soul”, so a “non-carbon-based life form”-artificial intelligence was born, and it defeated the human Go master in the recent man-machine Go competition. Human beings have successfully created “dead” “intelligent life”, they can learn, think, and even have their own consciousness. Except for the body structure is a pile of inorganic matter, they are almost the same as living people, even in calculating accuracy and efficiency. And learning ability surpasses human beings.
  In fact, this is not an example of machines being one step ahead of humans. A Chinese scholar witnessed the earliest “artificial intelligence” more than 100 years ago.
  Artificial Intelligence in the Late Qing Dynasty In
  1881, the then head of the Shandong Machinery Bureau was a scholar named Xu Jianyin, who was already the most capable technical talent in the Westernization Movement. As a scientific backbone, Xu Jianyin has visited European countries many times to learn Western advanced machinery manufacturing technology, and his experience abroad three years ago impressed him the most and even subverted his worldview.
  At that time, Xu Jianyin went to Germany to study and visited the Berlin Wax Museum on September 11 of that year. There is a wax man in the wax museum that attracted Xu Jianyin’s attention, because the wax man is dressed like a real person, and can quickly write and record copywriting with a pen, and has wheels on his feet that can be pushed around. Through the coat of this wax man, it can be seen that “the wheel is very complicated, and the inside and the outside are indistinct.” This shows that the wax man is a robot.
  There is a switch on this robot wax man. When it is turned on, it can write quickly. If a visitor writes in the palm of the robot to ask him a question, the robot cannot speak but can answer the visitor’s question with writing.
  Therefore, in order to test it, Xu Jianyin wrote Chinese characters in its palm: “When will I return to China?” I saw the robot quickly write the word “Winter” on the paper, which means it thinks Xu Jianyin will return to China in winter.
  Xu Jianyin smiled because he had no plans to return to China at that time. He did not know that when the winter came that year, he suddenly had to return to China early due to urgent matters. Afterwards, thinking of the predictions made by the robotic wax figure man about his future itinerary, Xu Jianyin was deeply moved. He was puzzled by how robots could predict a prophet. If he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes, he would never believe it for the rest of his life. He thinks this incident can be regarded as the first wonder he has seen in so many years abroad.
  Unlike people’s thinking today, Xu Jianyin was amazed at the technology of wax robots at the time, but he didn’t boast that robots might surpass humans in the future, nor did he “rob humans’ jobs” for robots or even “ridden humans as a blessing”. And worry.
  What allowed more people in the late Qing Dynasty to see the miraculous miracle of early Western artificial intelligence was a newspaper and magazine named “Dianshizhai Pictorial”.
  The strange guest with smoke above the head
  In 1884, China’s first lithographically famous current affairs pictorial “Dianshizhai Pictorial” was launched. In a certain issue of “Dianshizhai Pictorial”, such a strange event was recorded.
  On the bustling streets of Shanghai, people dodge one after another, seeming to make way for some extraordinary character. I saw a foreigner wearing a top hat and a cigar dangling a cigar, walking on the street with square steps, and it was strange that thick smoke came out of his head, which made passers-by shocked and frightened.
  However, after reading the annotations on the relevant pictures of “Dianshizhai Pictorial”, the readers at the time suddenly realized that this was not an unimaginable self-immolator, but a Western robot that could walk on its own!
  An American scientist named Zoshimo invented this robot. This robot can walk because there is a mechanical stove inside its body and a chimney is installed above its head. Just put fuel in the stove. When it is lighted, the robot can walk quickly under steam power, and it can walk five miles per hour. Because its core power source is a steam engine, the chimney overhead emits dense smoke when the fuel is burning, which makes passers-by mistakenly think that the foreign guest’s hat is on fire.
  Similar thing we have
  to act earlier this pile Westerners with “artificial intelligence” technology to frighten Chinese people, many people, but my heart one hundred satisfied: It’s what’s strange, similar to the stuff we have, and Already there!
  In the above “Dianshizhai Pictorial” report, many commentators believe that similar dolls appeared in ancient China, and they also attached the well-known yin-yang five-element theory, “Take a test of the five elements, Only water and fire are tangible and insubstantial, and everything else can be made into a human form.” Then he recounted a long period of China such as “Confucius once saw the golden man silently, Qin Shihuang cast the twelve golden man; Yue Wang Mu Fanli, cast his image with gold” etc. History of humanoid machine making.
  In fact, the example of “Qin Shihuang who casts twelve gold figures” mentioned by the commenter in the article does not just refer to the short sentence in “Historical Records” that “receive soldiers from all over the world, gather in Xianyang, sell them as bells, cast twelve gold figures” The dry narrative is the content of a novel “Xijing Zaji” written in the name of Ge Hong, the founder of Taoism in the 3rd century. This story is about a set of magical copper robots that can automatically play music discovered in the treasure house of Emperor Qin Shihuang by Liu Bang, the emperor of Han Dynasty, in 206 BC.
  The story says: “Twelve recast bronzes, all sitting three feet high, lined up on a banquet. The piano builds a sheng 竽, and each has its own dedication. They are all rope flowers, like a stranger. There are two copper pipes under the banquet, The mouthpiece is several feet high. After the feast, one tube is empty, and the other has a rope as big as a finger. If one person blows the empty tube, and the other twists the rope, everyone can enjoy it, which is no different from the real one.”
  The meaning is probably: There are twelve bronze figures in the treasure house. These bronze figures sit three feet high and sit around a bamboo mat. They each hold different instruments such as qin, zhu, sheng, and yu It’s almost like a real person. There are two copper pipes under the bamboo mat. One of the copper pipes is hollow, and the other copper pipe has a finger-thick rope. As long as you ask two people to operate it, one is responsible for blowing the empty pipe, and the other If someone is responsible for twisting the rope, the twelve bronze figures will play beautiful music at the same time, just like a real instrument.
  For the Chinese who regard the long history as an arch, if they follow this line of thinking and want to find inventions similar to modern Western artificial intelligence technology in the history of thousands of years, it can be said that the history is endless. . For example, in the historiography “Three Kingdoms”, it was recorded that Ma Jun, an inventor who was no less capable than the American doctor Zuo Zhimo who invented walking robots, had successfully modified a set of puppets to move. .
  Ma Jun is one of the most prestigious mechanical inventors in the history of ancient Chinese science and technology. When Ma Jun was young, his family was poor and he had a stuttering problem, so he was not good at talking, but was good at ingenuity. Later, he held an official position in Wei. After successfully developing the guide car, he was also ordered to make a puppet show, also known as the “water turns a hundred shows”. Later, he modified the weaving machine to increase its work efficiency by four or five times. Ma Jun also improved the tool keel waterwheel used for agricultural irrigation, that is, the rollover. After that, Ma Jun also restructured Zhuge Liannu, making a significant contribution to scientific development and technological progress.
  The history books record in detail the manufacturing process of Ma Jun’s “Puppet Puppets”. “It is constructed with a large wooden sculpture to make it shaped like a wheel, applied on the ground, and submerged in water.” That is, the gear and bearing are driven by hydraulic power to finally make these Fixed puppets can “play drums and flute; be a mountain, be a wooden figure jumping pill and a sword, stand upside down, come and go freely. Hundred officials, administrative bureaus, cockfighting, become clever.” This kind of “robotization” transformation of puppets is considered one of the three extraordinary achievements of inventor Ma Jun, closely following the guide car he made and the tipping car that can transport water for irrigation.
  The history of human inventing robots can be said to have a long history, which fully reflects the strong desire of people to create intelligent non-carbon-based life forms by themselves. After all, such intelligent individuals can replace humans in the process of civilization to complete many repetitive, heavy and boring tasks. , To reduce a lot of burdens for mankind, let the limited life be more relaxed, and have time to pursue higher life ideals.