Obviously, the idea of a mechanical advisor that could ask and answer questions is both exciting and ancient. However, it wasn't until fairly recently when the technical means allowed the implementation. The first machine that could process input data was the difference engine, an advanced calculation machine. The concept was completed in 1822 by Charles Babbage but he never saw this machine completely built. Still, this device was not exactly an advisor, as it could not help in making decisions.
The feasible concept of an advisor machine dates back to 1832 when was introduced homeoscope, ideoscope and comparator devices. They could do data search and decision making support by processing data input via perforated cards.
Still, the entertainment success of artificial advisors was far ahead, in the 1950's. This was the era of booming success of television and cinemas. And that's where Filmillion's ancestor steps in. At that time, the directory of movies was not too large, and cinemas were taking moves to attract more paying visitors. In 1955 Leonard D. Bullock and John V. Sparks created their FilmBSEM-I. It contained 100 vacuum tubes, performed 1 search operation per second, weighed 1000 lb. and consumed 1kW of electricity. One big challenge was instructing the machine to ask the right questions and check the users' guesses. With assistance from cinemas from IL, this problem was resolved.
In 1957 FilmBSEM-I was finalized, named Filmillion and installed in a cinema. Now, for a modest fee, movie enthusiasts could entertain themselves by making the machine guess the movie. Still, the commercial success of the project did not exactly live up to the expectations. The machine was dismantled and left to rot... But this wasn't the end!
In 2012, a group of movie enthusiasts and computer geeks decided to put Filmillion back to life. Building a beautiful 1000 lb. beast was a tempting enough idea... However, rendering it in pixels rather than in metal cut the costs by like three orders of magnitude. So, we took the obvious path and here you go. See the incomparable Filmillion in all its chrome and glory, back in action!
Filmillion - the movie augur now is here.
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