Gods and Robots by Adrienne Mayor

Gods and Robots

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 my...

Details Gods and Robots

TitleGods and Robots
Release DateNov 27th, 2018
PublisherPrinceton University Press
GenreNonfiction, History, Science, Technology, Fantasy, Mythology

Reviews Gods and Robots

  • 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.
  • Ben
    '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 to...
  • Daniel
    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 s...
  • Artur Coelho
    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 desa...
  • Thomas
    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 thi...
  • Nils
    A beautifully written, lavishly illustrated, and highly thought-provoking account of how the concerns with automatons and human enhancement are not just modern but indeed ancient. Focused mainly on Greek mythology, but with glances at other mythological traditions, Mayor argues that the concerns of the present about AI and gene-editing are not merely the products of new technology but have abided within Western thought for millennia. My only crit...
  • Ryan Denson
    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 H...
  • 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.
  • Mary Rose
    DNFed at 70%. I really did not vibe with this book and got frustrated by the pop culture asides and refusal to interrogate the ancient authors for the veracity of their writings. Too much was taken at face value. I hope someday Mayor gets the chance to write the book about the 2013 Blade Runner movie that she so desperately wants to write, god speed.
  • Cindie
    Very redundant and text book like. Although I liked the subject matter, I grew tired of the constant review or reference to other chapters, especially if the information was repeated again.
  • Alleyne
    I enjoyed this book so much that I gave away 3 copies as Christmas gifts. Couldn't wait to share it!