Myths and ancient legends have already established concepts about the creation of artificial life and robots thousands of years ago, as demonstrated by a new study conducted at Stanford University.
Historians usually trace the idea of automata to the Middle Ages, when the first automatic movement devices were invented, but the concept of real and artificial creatures goes back to the myths and legends of at least about 2,700 years ago, said Adrienne Mayor, student of the Department of Classics of the Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, who has presented his thesis in the book 'Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology'.
"Our ability to imagine artificial intelligence goes back to ancient times"Mayor said in a statement." Long before technological advances made automatic devices possible, ideas about the creation of artificial life and robots in ancient myths were explored. "
Homer and Hesiod, the first
Major, a historian of science, said that the first themes of artificial intelligence, robots and objects that move by themselves appear in the work of the ancient Greek poets Hesiod and Homer, who lived between 750 and 650 years before Christ.
The history of Talos, mentioned for the first time around the year 700 a. C. pot Hesiodo, offers one of the first conceptions of a robot, said Mayor.
The myth describes Talos as a giant bronze man built by Hephaestus, the Greek god of invention and smithy. Talos was commissioned by Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, to protect the island of Crete from the invaders. He marched around the island three times a day and threw stones at enemy ships approaching.
At its core, the giant had a tube that ran from his head to one of his feet that carried a mysterious source of life of the gods that the Greeks called icor. Another ancient text, Argonautica, dating from the third century BC. C., describes how the sorceress Medea defeated Talos by removing a pin in her ankle and letting the icor fluid come outsaid Mayor.
The myth of Pandora, described for the first time in the Theogony of Hesiod, is another example of a mythical artificial being, said the mayor. Although many later versions of the story portray Pandora as an innocent woman who, unknowingly, opened a box of evil, Mayor said that the original of Hesiod described Pandora as an evil, artificial woman built by Hephaestus and sent to Earth by order of Zeus to punish humans for discovering fire.
"One could argue that Pandora was a kind of artificial intelligence agent"said Mayor. "His only mission was to infiltrate the human world and free his pitcher of misery."
In addition to creating Talos and Pandora, the mythical Hephaestus made other objects that moved by themselves, including a set of automatic servants, which resembled women but were made of gold, Mayor said. According to Homer's account of the myth, Hephaestus gave these artificial women the knowledge of the gods. Mayor argues that they could be considered an ancient mythical version of artificial intelligence.
The ancient myths that Major examined in his research address the moral implications of Hephaestus' creations.
"None of those myths has a good ending once the artificial beings are sent to Earth", He said. "It's almost as if the myths said it's great to have these artificial things in heaven used by the gods, but once they interact with humans, we get chaos and destruction."