"Moxon's Master" is a short story by American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer Ambrose Bierce that speculates on the nature of life and intelligence. It describes a chess-playing automaton that murders its creator. First published in The San Francisco Examiner on April 16, 1899, it is one of the first descriptions of a robot in English-language literature written much before the word 'robot' came to be used.
The master, Moxon, who creates a chess-playing automaton, boasts to the narrator that even though machines have no brains, they can achieve remarkable things and therefore should be treated just like men of flesh and blood. After a thorough discussion about what it is to be "thinking" and "intelligent", the narrator leaves. The narrator returns to Moxon's house later to learn more. He enters and finds Moxon playing chess with an automaton. Moxon wins the game, and the automaton kills him in an apparent fit of rage. The narrator later questions whether what he saw was real.
Real or hoax chess-playing automatons:
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