Around 1900, a German farmer made an extraordinary claim: he had taught a horse basic arithmetic, and even to read and spell! Indeed, in public demonstrations, the horse, called Clever Hans, was able to answer all of its owner’s questions correctly, by a sequence of taps of its hooves.

Oskar Pfungst, a psychologist of the time at the University of Berlin, did not quite believe the animal really possessed such human-like capabilities and designed a set of experiments to prove the farmer’s claim wrong. In 1907 he published his famous report on the matter, making a surprising observation: Clever Hans would only give the correct answer if the answer was known by the experimenter asking the question!

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Deep Learning, Meet Clever Hans
1.50 GEEK