Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology | Mechanics' Institute

You are here

Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology
Author Adrienne Major in conversation with science writer Mary Ellen Hannibal

More than 2,500 years ago, long before medieval automata, and centuries before technology made self-moving devices possible, Greek mythology was exploring ideas about creating artificial life. In this compelling, richly illustrated book, Adrienne Mayor tells the fascinating story of how ancient Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese myths envisioned artificial life, automata, self-moving devices, and human enhancements. A groundbreaking account of the earliest expressions of the timeless impulse to create artificial life, Gods and Robots reveals how some of today’s most advanced innovations in robotics and AI were foreshadowed in ancient myth―and how science has always been driven by imagination. This is mythology for the age of AI.

Adrienne Mayor is the author, most recently, of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World and The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy, which was a finalist for the National Book Award (both Princeton). She is a research scholar in classics and the history of science at Stanford University and lives in Palo Alto, California.

Mary Ellen Hannibal is a Bay Area writer and editor who writes on natural history, and is the author of Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction. Her other books include, The Spine of the Continent, Evidence of Evolution, and Leaves & Pods. She is a recipient of the National Association of Science Writers award.

Activities

Admission: 
Members FREE
Public $15
Register now ›
Location: 
4th Floor Meeting Room
Questions?
Information Desk - 415-393-0102
Register now by using the form below or calling 415-393-0101.

Future Activities

Apr 24 - 6:15 pm

Monthly Storytelling Showcase with Corey Rosen
Join a monthly evening of laughter and storytelling as local author & host of "The Moth," Corey Rosen, returns to Mechanics' Institute!

Apr 29 - 1:30 pm

Tech Support Hour
Get tech support from our Community Tech Network Volunteers!

May 3 - 5:00 pm

Monthly Chess Social
Join the Chess Room for Chess Socials on the first Friday of each month

May 6 - 1:30 pm

Tech Support Hour
Get tech support from our Community Tech Network Volunteers!