Fear of AI is an old, old story. Rebelling robots and evil mystery boxes have worried us for millennia

Tapestry53:52What can historic myths instruct us about AI?

The fears of rogue synthetic intelligence may perhaps appear like a new issue, with current developments such as ChatGPT and self-driving autos — but tales of sentient and potentially malevolent engineering date again not just decades, but millennia. 

According to historians, these themes have been close to prolonged ahead of Arnold Schwarzenegger performed the purpose of a killer robotic and travelled again in time to menace Sarah Connor in 1984’s The Terminator.

“People today had been pondering about these sorts of devices and inventions and innovations … in advance of the technologies existed,” Adrienne Mayor, a historian of ancient science and a classical folklorist at Stanford University, instructed Tapestry host Mary Hynes.

Stories these kinds of as Pandora in ancient Greece, the murderous rampage of a golem in Prague, and Frankenstein’s monster are just some of the a lot of dots through heritage that connect our fear of inanimate creations coming to lifestyle. 

Mayor, whose 2018 guide Gods and Robots explores the subject matter, states some of these legends come with warnings.

Pandora’s box

A person of the oldest tales dates again to ancient Greece and the story of Pandora. Mayor claims in the first story, advised by Greek poet Hesiod, Zeus wished to punish humankind for accepting the gift of hearth. 

So Zeus commissioned Hephaestus — the god of hearth, blacksmiths, craftsmen and volcanoes — to make an synthetic woman named Pandora that Zeus described as evil disguised as beauty. 

“Zeus despatched this lifelike fembot to Earth carrying this jar filled with distress for mortals,” said Mayor. “Pandora’s mission was to insinuate herself into human society and then open that jar and launch all the misery.”

In Hesiod’s tale, Pandora did just that. Prometheus’s brother, Epimetheus, fell for

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