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Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology
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Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  8 reviews

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, a

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Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published November 27th 2018 by Princeton University Press (first published November 2018)
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Peter Mcloughlin
It appears people in the ancient world imagined creatures crafted by gods or sorcerors that seem akin to Robots, Be it Haephestus building Talos or Medea conjuring creatures that are made not born. People have imagined artificial life longer than we imagine. That is not to say that these ideas exactly match our ideas of AI or Robots but there does seem to be a relationship in the ancient myths to our modern ideas however vague.
Peter Tillman
I know, title sounds like a cheesy fantasy anthology, but...
Here's the WSJ review, likely paywalled: http://www.wsj.com/articles/gods-and...
"You could be forgiven for rolling your eyes at the front cover of Adrienne Mayor’s “Gods and Robots.” It depicts a generic ancient Greek—pointy beard, knee-length tunic—using a hammer to fix an arm onto a dinky robot skeleton. At first sight, this looks very much like a variant on that tired visual trope of ancient marble statues wearing Ray-Bans and suchl
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Benjamin De Baets
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Taken together, the myths, legends, and lore of past cultures about automata, robots, replicants, animated statues, extended human powers, self-moving machines, and other artificial beings, and the authentic technological wonders that followed, constitute a virtual library and museum of ancient wisdom and experiments in thinking, a priceless resource for understanding the fundamental challenges of biotechnology and synthetic life on the brink today. A goal of this book has been to suggest that ...more
Daniel
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have long contended that we can trace the origins of fantasy fiction to ancient myth. And now, with this meticulously researched book, I am able to argue that we can also trace the origins of Science Fiction to mythology.

Adrienne Mayor has written a book which provides further evidence of the versatility of myth. And another means to find new meanings in these (very) old stories.

As her book strengthens the case for the study of myth, she also shows how myth has helped scholars, scientists, cra
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Artur Coelho
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Os vestígios do dispositivo computacional que chamamos de mecanismo de Antikythera são a ponta de um enorme iceberg de conhecimento desaparecido. O saber mecânico da antiguidade perdeu-se nos seus objetos físicos, ficando registado nos fragmentos de obras técnicas e históricas que nos chegaram da antiguidade. São histórias de mecanismos utilitários e maravilhas mecânicas, que nos fazem intuir uma continuidade ao longo dos tempos do desafio de construir máquinas, algumas a simular a vida.

Os mitos
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Thomas
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating journey through ancient Greek mythology while touching on other mythologies along the way.

This is not so much a revelation is a reinterpretation, a different way of looking at those old myths and ideas through the lens of automation and artificial life. I know some might object to the idea of the ancient Greeks thinking in those terms, but there's no way to say for certain that none of them did. This notion that we can't think beyond technological precedent is absurd. Speak
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Ryan Denson
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adrienne Mayor’s Gods and Robots broadly examines the theme of biotechne and myths about living things that are “made, not born” in the ancient world. Mythological inventors and craftsman deities like Daedalus and Hephaestus take center stage here as Mayor describes a wide range of αὐτόματα and other artificial creations. This also includes real life tinkers and the inventions actually created (or at least planned), especially in Hellenistic Alexandria. Defining what constitutes something that i ...more
Sineala
An interesting overview of the ideas of robots and androids and how they relate to (mostly) Greek myth, as well as some information about various mechanical devices that the Greeks actually came up with.

My favorite chapter, for a certain value of "favorite," was the one about how apparently a lot of men were sexually attracted to statues and it wasn't just a Galatea thing.
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