2002-09-04 – The Mechanical Turk

We can mass produce things these days, but the extremely rarified market for ultra-expensive toys that amaze hasn’t vanished. The Turk took six months to build, and these days would cost perhaps half a million pounds as a commercial product, and that is paying the maker/builder about three quarters of a million a year! These sums, however, aren’t anything major to quite a large number of people in the world today. Bill or any other IT billionare wouldn’t think twice about it. The problem is, not one person in the world can build one. A realistic duck powered by a falling weight can’t be beyond the wit of the world! I am not sure where the comment is going, now, but, I think the gist is, “Someone out there is trying to rebuild these things, surely?”. To even find a toaster without a microchip in it is getting hard, these days, so how come the most realistic robots and automata created outside of the last few years were designed and built in over two hundred years ago? Whatever happened to incremental advance?

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