In the spirit of April Fool, let me introduce you to the famous chess “automaton,” The Turk. ( http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=77026 )
Built in 1769, and destroyed in 1854 by a fire in a museum in Philadelphia, The Turk toured Europe, playing chess against some of the most famous people of that time and usually defeating them. The Turk wiped up the board with Napoleon–but I don’t think Napoleon was all that talented a chess player.
However much audiences marveled at the prowess of this primitive robot, they might’ve gotten just a bit cheesed off if they’d known The Turk’s secret. Inside the cabinet–half of which was filled with a lot of gears and flywheels that served no purpose other than to snow the audience–was a human chess player, usually a very good one, who directed the movements of The Turk’s chessmen. The Turk wasn’t really a robot at all!
Granted, compared to Global Warming, “The Russians stole the election from Hillary!”, or the claim that men can menstruate, The Turk was a very small and unambitious hoax, hardly noticeable. But in its day it was a most successful hoax, and some of the smartest people in Europe fell for it.
As they always do.