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The ancient greeks invented robots, AI and GPS!

Ancient Greece left as its "legacy" not only its philosophy, art, culture and architecture. It was also the first in the field of high technology. For the ancient Greeks were so far ahead of their time and could perceive the world in such a way that they "foresaw" all the great technological achievements of the modern world. These are written in the book "Gods and Robots" by Dr. Adrienne Mayor, Professor of History at Stanford University.

What the American professor means is that the ancient Greeks were able to understand in an abstract way the meaning of automated technology before the term "technology" was even discovered. Therefore, and especially through the rich Greek mythology, they had "predicted" much of what is real for us today (or remains in the realm of science fiction), such as robots, humans, artificial intelligence, automatic navigation systems ( GPS), even the "intelligent" cars without drivers.

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek hand-powered orrery, described as the first analogue computer, the oldest known example of such a device used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance.

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek hand-powered orrery, described as the first analogue computer, the oldest known example of such a device used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance.

 

If there is one figure who, more than any other, sums up the innovation, foresight and technological training of the ancient Greeks, it is the god Hephaestus, the "blacksmith" of the gods on Mount Olympus. The descriptions of his works and achievements are countless. Among them are the "Golden Daughters" who could predict and fulfill the wishes of their bosses, something like today's machines with artificial intelligence.

A top example, according to the American historian, is Talos, the guardian of Crete, who, according to legend, was made of copper by Hephaestus himself. Not just today's equivalent of an android, but an android with "lethal" abilities. Something that many modern armies strive today.

 

The examples, according to Dr. Mayor, are endless. She points in particular to the case of Pandora, which she characterizes as the archetypal form of a robot with a female form and artificial intelligence. Something that could easily open the "box" and release all the suffering that plagues humanity.

 

But also Homer, who in the Iliad speaks of self-propelled tripods with wheels, as a primitive reference to self-propelled technology, while in the Odyssey he speaks of ships without captains, gives humanity its first idea of GPS. The gods of Olympus also had self-propelled tripods to transport nectar and ambrosia with precision and speed.

It also is interesting that most of these achievements appear in myths that tell of man's struggle to overcome his nature and abilities, as expressed through "protagonists" like Jason and the Argonauts, Daedalus, and Prometheus.

As the author of the book points out, the Ancient Greeks may not have understood all that they were describing in terms of technology, but they had realized, above all, how crucial their contribution would be to the evolution of the species and society as a whole.

Dr. Mayor believes that the "great minds" of Silicon Valley should once again open the history books and re-read ancient Greek mythology, because it still has much to teach them. For example, the dangers lurking in the uncontrolled development of artificial intelligence. She believes it could have catastrophic consequences for the human species, and refers to it as "Pandora's Box" if not used wisely and for the good of the human species.


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