Publisher Information: St. Petersburg: 1832.
Korsakov, Semyon Nikolaievich (1787-1853). Aperçu d’un procédé nouveau d’investigation au moyen de machines à comparer les idées. , 22pp. 2 folding plates. St. Petersburg: De l’imprimerie de la III-me section de la chancellerie privée de Sa Majesté Impériale, 1832. 213 x 135 mm. Original printed wrappers, vertically creased, some spotting. Minor foxing and dampstaining, but very good.
First Edition, Extremely Rare, with no copies cited in either OCLC or Rare Book Hub. Korsakov, a statistician with the Russian Police Ministry in St. Petersburg, was a pioneer in the concept of “mechanized thought,” or artificial intelligence. His “machines for comparing ideas,” described and illustrated in the present pamphlet, can “be considered as the very first attempt to design a mechanical device capable to perform such intellectual operations as data analysis, comparison, and selection” (Shilov and Silantiev, p. 71).
"While working in the statistics department of the Police Ministry, Korsakov became intrigued with the possibility of using machinery to ‘enhance natural intelligence.’ To this end, he devised several devices which he called ‘machines for the comparison of ideas.’ These included the ‘linear homeoscope with movable parts,’ the ‘linear homeoscope without movable parts,’ the ‘flat homeoscope,’ the ‘ideoscope,’ and the ‘simple comparator.’ The purpose of the devices was primarily to facilitate the search for information, stored in the form of punched cards or similar media (for example, wooden boards with perforations). Korsakov announced his new method in September 1832, and rather than seeking patents offered the machines for public use.
The punch card had been introduced in 1805, but until that time had been used solely in the textile industry to control looms. Korsakov was reputedly the first to use the cards for information storage" (“Semyon Korsakov.” Revolvy, www.revolvy.com/page/Semyon-Korsakov [accessed 1/2/19]).
Korsakov’s “machines à comparer les idées” anticipated by nearly two decades the logic machines of Alfred Smee, whose The Process of Thought Adapted to Words and Language was published in 1851; however, Korsakov’s work in this area has remained obscure and largely unstudied until fairly recently. Shilov and Silantiev, “’Machines à comparer les idées’ of Semen Korsakov: First step towards AI,” in Tatnall and Leslie, eds., International Communities of Invention and Innovation (Cham: Springer-Verlag, 2016), pp. 71-86).Book Id: 44771