The Ancient Greek Predicted AI, Killer Robots and Self-Driving Cars

Thousands of years ago, the ancient Greek predicted a number of things including self-driving cars, AI, and killer robots

The ancient Greeks excelled in many things throughout history, from incredible architecture to mighty warriors and revolutionary thinkers.

However, there’s more to the Greek civilization that what we’ve been led to believe. According to a newly published book, the ancient Greek predicted the rise of Artificial Intelligence, killer roots as well as self-driving cars.

According to historian Dr. Adrienne Mayor, the ancient Greek foresaw thousands of years ago the technology we use today.

Talos, the guardian of Crete.
Talos, the guardian of Crete.

As explained by Dr. Mayor, a number of ‘machines’ designed and built by Hephaestus, the Greek god of metalworking and invention, were, in fact, early predictions of the rise of humanoid robots.

Most of what Dr. Mayor suggests revolves around Hephaestus.

We can read more about the automatons in myths detailing Jason and the Argonauts, Medea, Daedalus, and Prometheus.

Furthermore, Greek mythology includes the mighty ‘bronze killer-robot’ Talos, who safeguarded the island of Crete, and Pandora, who Dr. Mayor believes are similar to the kinds of androids now being built by Boston Dynamics.

Talos (‘Τάλως’) is considered the first ‘robot-like’ creature in human mythology.

As explained by Dr. Mayor, Pandora was a ‘wicked AI fembot’, programmed to release eternal suffering upon humanity.

Ulysses (Odysseus) on board Phaeacian ship and the Sirens (Image: J. W. Waterhouse/National Gallery of Victoria)
Ulysses (Odysseus) onboard Phaeacian ship and the Sirens (Image: J. W. Waterhouse/National Gallery of Victoria)

But these are only a few examples claims Dr. Mayor.

In her book, Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology’. She includes plenty of other examples of how the ancient Greeks predicted most of the technology in existence today, thousands of years ago.

Dr. Mayor explains that while the ancient Freek may not have known how technology would function, they foresaw its rise in society.

She adds that evidence of pilotless vehicles can also be found if we study ancient Greek Civilization.

Odysseus’s pilotless Phaeacian ships, for example, are said to have guided him back home to Ithaca. This, according to Dr. Mayor, is something similar to GPS technology we have today.

Furthermore, the American historian explains how the Greeks also foresaw the rise of Artificial Intelligence and robots that would serve us.

She explains that Hephaestus built mechanical humanoids from gold and equipped them with learning, reason, and skill in Homer’s Iliad.

These golden humanoids were designed to anticipate their master’s requests, acting much like self-learning machines today.

Furthermore, Dr. Mayor points to Homer’s epic poem and how it also describes elf-driving wheeled tripods that carry nectar and ambrosia.

Dr. Mayor believes that modern-day companies such as Google, Apple, and Amazon could learn plenty of new things by taking a look back into history, and the ancient Greek Civilization.

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