Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology
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,...more
Gods and Robots intends to make a comparison between the ancient myths -mostly greek and roman- and our modern science fiction dreams.
As I said, the book is just a comparison, it does not explain a cause effect or an influence between classical myths and contemporary science fiction stories. It is clear that the author is an expert in classical mythology but not in the science fiction genre. However she is well informed and the comparisons are clever. And, above all, the ...more
Here's the WSJ review, likely paywalled: https://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 ...more
'Gods and Robots: The Ancient Quest for Artificial Life' is a remarkable achievement that will completely transform the way you look at Ancient Greece. Written by Stanford University Prof. Adrienne Mayor, this book is an exhaustive study on how the Greeks approached artificial / augmented life creatively, artistically, and even practically. You will not believe how closely the imagination of the ancients resembles the modern era with respect to artificial life, robotics, ...more
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, ...more
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. ...more
This book is disappointing and intentionally mismarketed. I doubt most people would read it after an honest description. The vast majority of the book is just looking at the same Greek myths over and over again reinterpreting them in absurd and ahistorical ways. There's just about one chapter to do with technology or machines here. Otherwise it's only myths and only Greek myths, as if there was nothing else in the ancient world.
Pretending that ...more
Overall a really interesting read that recaps many Greek myths and relates them to modern concepts of robotics and artificial intelligence. If you're hoping for a comprehensive, globe-spanning look at robots in mythology, you'll be disappointed, as Eastern mythologies are touched upon very slightly, while Norse, Celtic, Maori, and many other mythologies aren't ...more
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.
also peppered in alot of idoosycratic stuff that the author likes such as the new blade runner movie and of all thins.. Laputa.. the Iron Maiden/pandora/Metropolis analogies are very interesting too