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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

Town Hall’s Science series is dedicated to understanding the world around us. Whether we’re hearing from a legendary physicist or a UW graduate student, the Science series explores math, biology, chemistry, the environment, and so much more.

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Dec 10, 2018

The first robot to walk the earth was a bronze giant called Talos. This wondrous machine was created not by MIT Robotics Lab, but by Hephaestus, the Greek god of invention. For a history on these ancient mythological AIs and more, folklorist and historian of science Adrienne Mayor arrived at Town Hall to present Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology. She brought us a richly illustrated exploration of mythology and the history of humanity’s timeless impulse to create artificial life.

Mayor related fascinating stories of ancient Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese myths that envisioned artificial life, automata, self-moving devices, and human enhancements, and how these visions relate to and reflect the ancient invention of real animated machines. She revealed 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. Join Mayor for a collection of myths for the AI age, and a retrospective on humanity’s dreams of creating artificial life.

Recorded live at Seattle University by Town Hall Seattle on Monday, December 3, 2018.