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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 6:30pm

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.

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