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

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The onward march of human history is deeply intertwined with the invention and advancement of various technologies. But perhaps no technological pursuit is more fundamentally human than the field of robotics and automata. The end goal of creating new life, or artificial life, that mirrors the human form and human capabilities has been with us far longer than most suspect, reaching all the way back to the stories from ancient mythology.

Gods and Robots discusses some of our earliest stories of mechanical wonders and other beings brought to life, covering everything from the walking guardian Talos and the designs of Hephaestus to the creation myths of Prometheus and the works of Daedalus, seeking the line between man and machine when it comes to living, self-aware automatons. Mayor’s research is topnotch, going beyond the commonly known myths and plunging into more obscure tales. For instance, I’d forgotten that Pandora was said to be a manufactured being.

Although the sections on immortality feel a little out of left field, looking at ancient myth through the lenses of contemporary science and robotics makes for a fascinating take on technology, imagination, and where they overlap. The full color inserts feature works of art that complement these stories and help bring these marvelous visions to life, bridging the gap between the modern reader and the believers of ancient myth.

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Star Count 3.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Princeton University Press
Publish Date 2018-11-27
ISBN 9781250175489
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue April 2019
Category History


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