Gods and robots : myths, machines, and ancient dreams of technology
|Format:||Print Book 2018|
|Availability:||Available at 1 Library 1 of 2 copies|
The fascinating untold story of how the ancients imagined robots and other forms of artificial life--and even invented real automated machines
The first robot to walk the earth was a bronze giant called Talos. This wondrous machine was created not by MIT Robotics Lab, but by Hephaestus, the Greek god of invention. More than 2,500 years ago, long before medieval automata, and centuries before technology made self-moving devices possible, Greek mythology was exploring ideas about creating artificial life--and grappling with still-unresolved ethical concerns about biotechne , "life through craft." In this compelling, richly illustrated book, Adrienne Mayor tells the fascinating story of how ancient Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese myths envisioned artificial life, automata, self-moving devices, and human enhancements--and how these visions relate to and reflect the ancient invention of real animated machines.
As early as Homer, Greeks were imagining robotic servants, animated statues, and even ancient versions of Artificial Intelligence, while in Indian legend, Buddha's precious relics were defended by robot warriors copied from Greco-Roman designs for real automata. Mythic automata appear in tales about Jason and the Argonauts, Medea, Daedalus, Prometheus, and Pandora, and many of these machines are described as being built with the same materials and methods that human artisans used to make tools and statues. And, indeed, many sophisticated animated devices were actually built in antiquity, reaching a climax with the creation of a host of automata in the ancient city of learning, Alexandria, the original Silicon Valley.
A groundbreaking account of the earliest expressions of the timeless impulse to create artificial life, Gods and Robots reveals how some of today's most advanced innovations in robotics and AI were foreshadowed in ancient myth--and how science has always been driven by imagination. This is mythology for the age of AI.
ContentsIntroduction: Made, not born
The robot and the witch : Talos and Medea
Medea's cauldron of rejuvenation
The quest for immortality and eternal youth
Beyond nature : enhanced powers borrowed from gods and animals
Daedalus and the living statues
Pygmalion's living doll and Prometheus's first humans
Hephaestus : divine devices and automata
Pandora : beautiful, artificial, evil
Between myth and history : real automata and lifelike artifices in the ancient world
Epilogue: Awe, dread, hope : deep learning and ancient stories.
Published ReviewsPublisher's Weekly Review: "
Technology -- Rome -- History.
Robotics -- History.
Robotics -- Mythology.
Robots -- History.
Robots -- Mythology.
Machinery -- History.
Inventions -- History.
Technology and civilization.
Science and civilization.
Artificial intelligence -- History.
Artificial intelligence -- Mythology.
|Publisher|| Princeton, New Jersey :2018
|Other Titles|| Gods and robots
Myths, machines, and ancient dreams of technology
xvi, 275 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 251-263) and index.