Gods and Robots: Ancient Dreams of Technology

Gods and Robots: Ancient Dreams of Technology

Adrienne Mayor

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Tuesday November 12, 7:30pm
Check-in starts at 6:30pm

Who first imagined robots and AI? 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 describes how self-moving devices, animated statues, and other fabricated beings were "made, not born.”

Adrienne Mayor 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 (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 Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (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.

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