DOSSIER - Digital challanges
The temptation to create robots started with the Greek automatos “that acts of its own free will”. Automata in Greek times were toys, religious idols or tools for scientific experiments.
- Wednesday, 30 August 2017
A Chinese book dating back to the 3rd century AD describes the meeting between the emperor and a figure that “walked, moved its head and could be mistaken for a live human being”. In 11th-century Baghdad, an
automatic flautist was built for the entertainment of the caliph. In 1206, the engineer Al-Jazari created a musical band
of robots that could perform more than 50 movements during each piece of music.
In late 18th-century London, Psycho, an automaton resembling an oriental magician, would read people’s fortune in
the cards, solve mathematical problems and smoke incessantly.
The digital revolution enables pragmatic, mass-produced robots to be assigned repetitive tasks, while human intelligence comes to grips with the original challenge: getting AI to match man’s image and likeness.