Ancient Greeks not only created the foundations of modern civilization but they also predicted future technological innovations, according to a new book.
Stanford University historian Dr Adrienne Mayor, in the upcoming “Gods and Robots” argues that Greek myth prefigured artificial intelligence, robots, driverless cars, and other modern technologies.
Dr Mayor’s arguments revolve to a large extent around Hephaestus, the Greek god of craftsmen and metalworking.
One of his creations was Talos, a giant automaton made of bronze, who Mayor describes as a “bronze killer-robot” and an early precursor to the kinds of androids now being built by Boston Dynamics.
Another of his creations was Pandora, a “replicant” and “wicked AI fembot” who, according to Mayor, was ‘programmed’ to release evil into the world.
Pandora wasn’t the only ‘AI’ Hephaestus constructed, since he also built mechanical Golden Maidens to help him with his work.
These were designed to predict his needs and to act on them without direct instruction, something which Dr Mayor believes makes them early versions of such AI-powered personal assistants as Amazon’s Alexa.
And neither were these creations the only ancient Greek prophecies of future tech.
According to Dr Mayor, Homer’s epic poetry foretells the arrival of driverless cars and transportation.
In The Odyssey, Odysseus sails back to Ithaca on pilot-less Phaeacian ships, while in The Illiad Homer writes about autonomous wheeled tripods that transport ambrosia.