Millennia before engineering or software, robots and artificial intelligence were brought to life in Greek myths. The author of “Gods and Robots Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology”: https://press.princeton.edu/titles/14162.html traces the link between technology and tyranny from modern day concerns over AI to back to antiquities fear of beings were “made, not born.”
Adrienne Mayor: https://web.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/Mayor.html is a folklorist and historian of ancient science who investigates natural knowledge contained in pre-scientific myths and oral traditions. She has been at Stanford University since 02006; “Gods and Robots”: https://press.princeton.edu/titles/14162.html (2018) is her most recent book. Her other books include “The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times” (2000); “Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World” (2003); “The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women” (2014); and a biography of Mithradates, “The Poison King” (2010), a National Book Award finalist.
She is a 02018-19 Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences: http://casbs.stanford.edu/ (CASBS), co-sponsors of this talk. While at CASBS she is continuing her investigations about how imagination is a link between myths about technology and science. Other projects include researching interdisciplinary topics in geomythology, to discover natural knowledge and scientific realities embedded in mythological traditions about nature.
“Gods and Robots: Ancient Dreams of Technology” was given on November 12, 02019 as part of The Long Now Foundation’s “Conversations at The Interval” Salon Talks. These hour long talks are recorded live at The Interval, our bar, cafe, & museum in San Francisco. Since 02014 this series has presented artists, authors, entrepreneurs, scientists (and more) taking a long-term perspective on subjects like art, design, history, nature, technology, and time. To follow the talks, you can:
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