A 64-bit horse that can count
9/11/2012 3:30 PM EDT
The phenomenon of "The Clever Hans", Mr. von Osten's horse, was described in 1911 . The Clever Hans was famous because of his ability to read and solve mathematical problems by tapping with his front hoof. Of course, there were a lot of skeptics. That's why a team of experts tested Hans' abilities and proved that the horse was showing them without any help of Mr. von Osten. But how could a common horse possess such an intellectual level - a human one?! The psychologist O. Pfungst carried out some very thorough experiments and discovered that Hans received very faint unintentional hints from those who were asking him questions. For example, when people asked Hans about anything they started to stare at his front hoof with the help of which the horse "answered". But as soon as Hans had tapped the right number, they raised their eyes or head just a little waiting for him to finish his answer. And the horse, that had been trained to note and use these very subtle motions considered them as signals to stop his action. From aside it looked as if the horse had given the right answer to the question.
Such a wonderful horse it was that counted and solved arithmetic problems although he was unable to do it. 64-bit programs turned out to be such digital horses of the beginning of the 21st century, many of which cannot count either although are successful in pretending to do so. Let's consider this phenomenon in detail.