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  • Hephaestus, god of technology, was hard at work on his most ingenious invention yet.

  • He was creating a new defense system for King Minos,

  • who wanted fewer intruders on his island kingdom of Crete.

  • But mortal guards and ordinary weapons wouldn’t suffice,

  • so the visionary god devised an indomitable new defender.

  • In the fires of his forge,

  • Hephaestus cast his invention in the shape of a giant man.

  • Made of gleaming bronze; endowed with superhuman strength,

  • and powered by ichor, the life fluid of the gods,

  • this automaton was unlike anything Hephaestus had forged before.

  • The god named his creation Talos: the first robot.

  • Three times a day, the bronze guardian marched around the island's perimeter

  • searching for interlopers.

  • When he identified ships approaching the coast,

  • he hurled massive boulders into their path.

  • If any survivors made it ashore,

  • he would heat his metal body red-hot and crush victims to his chest.

  • Talos was intended to fulfill his duties day after day, with no variation.

  • But despite his robotic behavior,

  • he possessed an internal life his victims could scarcely imagine.

  • And soon,

  • the behemoth would encounter a ship of invaders that would test his mettle.

  • The bedraggled crew of Jason, Medea, and the Argonauts

  • were returning from their hard-won quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece.

  • Their adventure had taken many dark turns,

  • and the weary sailors were desperate to rest in a safe harbor.

  • They’d heard tales of Crete’s invulnerable bronze colossus,

  • and made for a sheltered cove.

  • But before they could even drop anchor, Talos spotted them.

  • While the Argonauts cowered at the approach of the awesome automaton,

  • the sorceress Medea spotted a glinting bolt on the robot’s ankle

  • and devised a clever gambit.

  • Medea offered Talos a bargain:

  • she claimed that she could make Talos immortal

  • in exchange for removing the bolt.

  • Medea's promise resonated deep within his core.

  • Unaware of his own mechanical nature,

  • and human enough to long for eternal life, Talos agreed.

  • While Medea muttered incantations, Jason removed the bolt.

  • As Medea suspected, the bolt was a weak point in Hephaestusdesign.

  • The ichor flowed out like molten lead, draining Talos of his power source.

  • The robot collapsed with a thunderous crash,

  • and the Argonauts were free to travel home.

  • This story, first recorded in roughly 700 BCE,

  • raises some familiar anxieties about artificial intelligence

  • and even provides an ancient blueprint for science fiction.

  • But according to historians, ancient robots were more than just myths.

  • By the 4th century BCE,

  • Greek engineers began making actual automatons

  • including robotic servants and flying models of birds.

  • None of these creations were as famous as Talos,

  • who appeared on Greek coins, vase paintings, public frescoes,

  • and in theatrical performances.

  • Even 2,500 years ago,

  • Greeks had already begun to investigate the uncertain line

  • between human and machine.

  • And like many modern myths about artificial intelligence,

  • Talostale is as much about his robotic heart as it is about his robotic brain.

  • Illustrating the demise of Talos on a vase of the fifth century BCE,

  • one painter captured the dying automaton’s despair

  • with a tear rolling down his bronze cheek.

Hephaestus, god of technology, was hard at work on his most ingenious invention yet.

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最初のロボット、タロスのギリシャ神話 - アドリアン・マイヨール (The Greek myth of Talos, the first robot - Adrienne Mayor)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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