Ancient and early 20th century Robots

KorbenDallas

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To offload the "Robot" topic from the Chicago Expo thread, we could probably have a dedicated place to look into this robot issue. The issue could be a bit more complex, than this Boilerplate Robot you see in the image found by @Maxine. A while back I ran into this 1900 Automatic Man. As far as I can remember, the robotic qualities were dismissed by a semi-elaborate hoax, where an electric carriage was used to propel the contraption forward.

Automatic Man
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A walking automaton has been invented by Louis Philip Perew of Tonawanda, which eclipses, so far as known, any other similar invention ever made. Of heroic proportions this mechanical wonder is shaped in very way like a man. Not only can it walk but it's eyes roll, it's head turns and all it's joints move naturally.
  • It can even talk. To test the powers of the giant fully, it is proposed to walk him across the continent accompanied by only two human companions. It is expected that other and similar walking men will be made and toured through the country in order to advertise the Pan-American Exposition. A man that walks is a common sight. A dead man that walks is occasionally beheld by sailors on a Saturday Night. But a man that walks long distance that never was alive is something so unheard of that it is hard to believe that such a one could exist. But exist it does, and walk it can, as any doubters will soon be able to see. For nine years Louis Philip Perew labored with his body and his brain at a huge undertaking. Now the work is finished and he has a graven image made of wood and metal, in the likeness of a man. And it walks!
  • Seven feet five inches high, of excellent proportions, this mechanical man is to every appearance a human being. He is well formed, of heroic stature, and has a dignified military carriage. He has the quick step of the perfect heel and toe walker. His features are of the typical American and so natural that one would imagine them of natural flesh instead of aluminum. He is dressed in the height of fashion in a white duck outing suit and cap of the latest shape.
  • Eyes of perfect blue roll in the head and gaze upon those who surround him, putting a feeling in the awed spectator that half convinces him that the automation is something more than a mechanical construction. Such is the giant soulless man that has been made in Tonawanda, and that will walk, it is expected, from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
  • It was in 1891 that Louis Perew struck upon the idea of a walking giant. For weeks and months he worked diligently. At last he had a figure carved out of wood, three feet high, attached to a cart. When placed on a smooth surface, and provided that someone pushed the cart, the wooden figure would walk as though pulling the entire rig himself.
  • Tonawanda men thought they saw much money in the building of an even larger automaton, purchased a share in the idea and had it patented. A large figure was built and attached to an immense and very heavy vehicle. A man was put inside the rig to propel it by hand, and exhibitions were given about the streets of the village. It's leg motions, although patterned after mankind's, was still crude. There was a quiver and a jerk as the legs came forward that was not natural. The inventors moneyed friends became less enthusiastic, and in the end let the automation project drop. In 1899, Charles A. Thomas of Cleveland, Ohio ran across the old automation and became interested in it's development. Under Thomas's backing the U.S. Automaton Co. was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York. Money was at once spent in lavish sums in the purchase of the very best material; the service of able mechanical engineers were secured and inventor Perew was given a free hand in the construction of his automaton.
  • Continue reading here
But some "hoaxes" can be more elaborate than others, and then you start questioning the "hoaxness" of the issue. The below "Electric Man"patent is not directly related to the above, "Automatic Man". They sure do look similar.

Electric Man
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Newark Steam Man
In 1868, Zadoc Dederick of Newark, New Jersey built a robotic man wearing a top hat to pull carriages. His creation became known as "the Newark Steam Man," and its inventor hoped to build an army of steampunkish carriage drivers.

newark_steam_man.jpg

Here's a description of the Steam Man from the January 23, 1868 edition of The Newark Observer.

Newark Steam Man_1.jpg

What I find interesting about this 1868 Newark Steam Man, is the fact that it was invented simultaneously with the 1868 publishing of The Steam Man of the Prairies by Edward S. Ellis. This science fiction robot presented in the novel co-existing with the actual model is bizarre, in my opinion.
The_steam_man_of_the_prairies_(1868).jpg


Steam King Robot
1868-1869

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A photograph of a steam-powered robot pulling a wagon. The photo was registered in 1869 in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The court’s clerk pasted the photo into the copyright record book.

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Occultus - Barbarossa
The October 7 1911 issue of "The Pathfinder" Newspaper News Magazine had in the scientific section, a weird photo and article on an automaton / robot named "Occultus" recently exhibited in Berlin by a man named Whitman. The author of the article displaying the below two images thinks that these Barbarossa robots were fake.

Here is the opinion of the author:
  • In my opinion all the mechanism is there only for show, with the wheels and dials clearly placed to impress the viewer.Furthermore note the robot stands just in front of a screen. I would guess that the robots head was really the head of an actor/accomplice, pushed through a hole in the screen with the screen edges disguised by the hair and the beard. The forearms could have been raised and lowered by the accomplice using the two ropes attached to the forearms and going over the shoulders.
BarbarossaP1-600.jpg


Maschinenmensch Robot
And then, of course, we have our Metropolis Movie robot called "Maschinenmensch". Though some props and costumes from Metropolis did survive, the iconic Maschinenmensch apparently was destroyed during filming, although its actual fate is unknown. Replicas of the robot are found in many museums, notably in the Berlin Filmmuseum, The Cinématheque Francaise in Paris, and the Museum of the Moving Image in London. Oddly enough, almost all versions are silver rather than the original golden-bronze colour.
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Links and Sources:
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KD: anyways, what's your opinion on this entire robot thing. It appears the topic was extremely popular between approximately 1890 and 1910. Could there be something we are missing on the entire issue?
 

milhaus

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The first robot was a mechanical bird made in 350 B.C. by Archytas of Tarentum.
It was called "The Pigeon" and was powered by steam.

Archytas was an ancient Greek mathematician. His creation, a wooden dove that could fly up to 200 meters connected to a cable, was not only the first robot but also one of the earliest flight studies.

In 200 B.C., Ctesibus, another Greek inventor, made an automated water clock with movable hands. Leonardo da Vinci's drawings of a mechanized knight inspired inventors in the late 1400s to build simple robotic machines. In 1738, Jacques de Vaucanson of France built a robotic flute player, drum and tambourine player, and a moving and quacking duck. In 1801, Joseph Jacquard made an automated loom. Charles Babbage's "Difference Engine" of 1822 and Nikola Tesla's 1898 robot boat were other prominent robotic inventions. The 1966 "Shakey" robot was the first self-aware robot.
When Was the First Robot Made?

Early legends
Concepts of artificial servants and companions date at least as far back as the ancient legends of Cadmus, who is said to have sown dragon teeth that turned into soldiers and Pygmalion whose statue of Galatea came to life. Many ancient mythologies included artificial people, such as the talking mechanical handmaidens built by the Greek god Hephaestus (Vulcan to the Romans) out of gold, the clay golems of Jewish legend and clay giants of Norse legend.
In Greek mythology, Hephaestus created utilitarian three-legged tables that could move about under their own power, and a bronze man, Talos, that defended Crete. Talos was eventually destroyed by Medea who cast a lightning bolt at his single vein of lead. To take the golden fleece Jason was also required to tame two fire-breathing bulls with bronze hooves; and like Cadmus he sowed the teeth of a dragon into soldiers.
In ancient Egypt statues of divinities were made of stone, metal or wood. The statues were animated and played a key role in religious ceremonies. They were believed to have a soul (a kꜣ), derived from the divinity they represented. In the New Kingdom of Egypt, from the 16th century BC till the 11th century BC, ancient Egyptians would frequently consult these statues for advice. The statues would reply with a movement of the head. According to Egyptian lore, pharaoh Hatshepsut dispatched her squadron to the "Land of Incense" after consulting with the statue of Amun.
The Buddhist scholar Daoxuan (596-667 BC) described humanoid automata crafted from metals that recite sacred texts in a cloister which housed a fabulous clock. The "precious metal-people" weeped when Buddha Shakyamuni died. Humanoid automations also feature in the Epic of King Gesar, a Central Asian cultural hero.
Early Chinese lore on the legendary carpenter Lu Ban and the philosopher Mozi described mechanical imitations of animals and demons. The implications of humanoid automations were discussed in Liezi, a compilation of Daoist texts which went on to become a classic. In chapter 5 King Mu of Zhou is on tour of the West and upon asking the craftsman Master Yan "What can you do?" the royal court is presented with an artificial man. The automation was indistinguishable from a human and performed various tricks for the king and his entourage. But the king flew into a rage when apparently the automation started to flirt with the ladies in attendance and threatened the automation with execution. So the craftsman cut the automation open and revealed the inner workings of the artificial man. The king is fascinated and experiments with the functional interdependence of the automation by removing different organlike components. The king marveled "is it then possible for human skill to achieve as much as the Creator?"
The Indian Lokapannatti, a collection of cycles and lores produced in the 11th or 12th centuries AD, tells the story of how an army of automated soldiers (bhuta vahana yanta or "Spirit movement machines") were crafted to protect the relics of Buddha in a secret stupa. The plans for making such humanoid automations were stolen from the kingdom of Rome, a generic term for the Greco-Roman-Byzantine culture. According to the Lokapannatti, the Yavanas ("Greek-speakers") used the automations to carry out trade and farming, but also captured and executed criminals. Roman automation makers who left the kingdom were pursued and killed by the automations. According to the Lokapannatti, the emperor Asoka hears the story of the secret stupa and sets out to find it. Following a battle between with the fierce warrior automations, Asoka finds the long-lived engineer who had constructed the automations and is shown how to dismantle and control them. Thus emperor Asoka manages to command a large army of automated warriors.
Inspired by European Christian legend medieval Europeans devised brazen heads that could answer questions posed to them. Albertus Magnus was supposed to have constructed an entire android which could perform some domestic tasks, but it was destroyed by Albert's student Thomas Aquinas for disturbing his thought. The most famous legend concerned a bronze head devised by Roger Bacon which was destroyed or scrapped after he missed its moment of operation. Automata resembling humans or animals were popular in the imaginary worlds of medieval literature.
Aristotle speculated in his Politics (ca. 322 BC, book 1, part 4) that automata could some day bring about human equality by making possible the abolition of slavery:
There is only one condition in which we can imagine managers not needing subordinates, and masters not needing slaves. This condition would be that each instrument could do its own work, at the word of command or by intelligent anticipation, like the statues of Daedalus or the tripods made by Hephaestus, of which Homer relates that "Of their own motion they entered the conclave of Gods on Olympus", as if a shuttle should weave of itself, and a plectrum should do its own harp playing.
Starting in 1900, L. Frank Baum introduced contemporary technology into children's books in the Oz series. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) Baum told the story of the cyborg Tin Woodman, a human woodcutter who had his limbs, head and body replaced by a tinsmith after his wicked axe had severed them.
The Tin Man—the human turned into a machine—was a common feature in political cartoons and in advertisements in the 1890s. Indeed, he had been part of European folk art for 300 years. In political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Tin Woodman is supposedly described as a worker, dehumanized by industrialization. The Tin Woodman little by little lost his natural body and had it replaced by metal; so he has lost his heart and cannot move without the help of farmers (represented by the Scarecrow)
It would be interesting if there was a society in the past where the work was done primarily by these machines, but then the people were conquered and had to do the work themselves once again. Would they then compare themselves to the automatons?

One thought I had when watching videos about robots in the 20th century is that if they are all hoaxes, then I am curious as to how they knew how the robots would speak. Maybe just a logical conclusion.


History of robots - Wikipedia
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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Just like I was saying before, things should not exists in the technological vacuum. We are being presented with a one off, ahead of its time technology. It's for every individual observer to decide whether such things can be possible. Personally, I think it's a bunch of BS.

Al-Jazari
1136–1206
Al-jazari_robots.jpg

Source
Before Da Vinci there was Al-Jazari – the Engineering genius of the Islamic world in the Middle Ages. He designed and built a number of automatas including the first programmable humanoid robot. Al-Jazari created a musical automaton, which was a boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties. Professor Noel Sharkey has argued that it is quite likely that it was an early programmable automata and has produced a possible reconstruction of the mechanism; it has a programmable drum machine with pegs that bump into little levers that operated the percussion. The drummer could be made to play different rhythms and different drum patterns if the pegs were moved around.
 

milhaus

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Just like I was saying before, things should not exists in the technological vacuum. We are being presented with a one off, ahead of its time technology. It's for every individual observer to decide whether such things can be possible. Personally, I think it's a bunch of BS.

Al-Jazari
1136–1206
View attachment 23809
Source
Before Da Vinci there was Al-Jazari – the Engineering genius of the Islamic world in the Middle Ages. He designed and built a number of automatas including the first programmable humanoid robot. Al-Jazari created a musical automaton, which was a boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties. Professor Noel Sharkey has argued that it is quite likely that it was an early programmable automata and has produced a possible reconstruction of the mechanism; it has a programmable drum machine with pegs that bump into little levers that operated the percussion. The drummer could be made to play different rhythms and different drum patterns if the pegs were moved around.
Yeah, that whole wiki article is very interesting and is just one of the many topics that seemed to be left out in school. I will highlight a couple more.

When the Greeks controlled Egypt a succession of engineers who could construct automata established themselves in Alexandria. Starting with the polymath Ctesibius (285-222 BC), Alexandrian engineers left behind texts detailing workable automata powered by hydraulics or steam. Ctesibius built human like automata, often these were used in religious ceremonies and the worship of deities. One of the last great Alexandrian engineers, Hero of Alexandria (10-70 BC) constructed an automata puppet theater, were the figurines and the stage sets moved by mechanical means. He described the construction of such automata in his treatise on pneumatics.[18] Alexandrian engineers constructed automata as reverence for humans' apparent command over nature and as tools for priests, but also started a tradition where automata were constructed for anyone who was wealthy enough and primarily for the entertainment of the rich.
The 17th century thinker Rene Descartes believed that animals and humans were biological machines. On his last trip to Norway, he took with him a mechanical doll that looked like his dead daughter Francine.
This is the only time I remember this subject being mentioned at all in University, but it was presented merely in the philosophical sense. I had never heard the second part, which is very sad. It also really brings into question how much philosophy was based on ideas derived from lost, hidden, and ignored technology. Ideas that you would expect someone exposed to these technologies to explore. In light of that, it seems insane to have us ponder these questions without full context of the author's world.

Another subject I studied where this was never mentioned was how Mary Shelley came up with Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. It turns out that she was inspired to write Frankenstein after seeing automata that looked like children. Here is the commonly heard tale:

On a quiet, cold night in June of 1816, a group of friends were gathered around a fire in a villa located in Lake Geneva, Switzerland. The host of the gathering was Lord Byron, the devil-may-care poet and aristocrat; his guests included his friend and physician John Polidari, his poet pal Percy Shelley, and Percy’s new girlfriend, a clever 18 year-old named Mary Godwin.

Despite a surplus of interesting personalities, this Romantic-era party of five were not having a very lively summer. The year 1816 has been called the “year without a summer” since a volcanic explosion in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) was so violent that ash in the air created a year-long winter for much of the world. New York in May had sub-zero temperatures, and the situation in Switzerland was not much more congenial. At its best, the weather was foggy and chill; at worst, it was freezing and rainy. The “summer that never was” dragged on the spirits of the friends and limited what they could do outdoors.

One of the ways the company passed the time was to stay up late talking, drinking, and reading ghost stories aloud. Out of sheer boredom, they decided to start a competition. Shelley, a big fan of the fantastic and occult, proposed that each member of the party write a horror story along the lines of the German tales they had been reading. The assembled group would read the stories aloud and then judge a winner. Being a creative and imaginative bunch, the others agreed it was a great idea and set to work.

That night, or during a night soon after, Mary Godwin had a dream. The dream was a morbid one about the creation of a new man by a scientist with the hubris to assume the role of god. History is quiet on whether or not Mary Godwin (soon to become Mrs. Shelley) won the competition at the villa with the tale that “haunted her midnight pillow,” but her story became more than a fireside bit of entertainment. Properly developed, it became a successful novel in 1818, one of the firsts in a new genre of fiction that would eventually be branded “science fiction.”
If there was some sort of cataclysm, I suppose this year would be as good as any to reintroduce these ideas to the public.

Another thing, I am seeing Bubo from Clash of the Titans (1981) in a new light.


Compare that to how they treat Bubo in the recent remake:


A few more examples for anyone interested:

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In approximately 1495, before he began work on the Last Supper, Leonardo designed and possibly built the first humanoid robot in Western civilization.

The robot, an outgrowth of his earliest anatomy and kinesiology studies recorded in the Codex Huygens, was designed according to the Vitruvian canon. This armored robot knight was designed to sit up, wave its arms, and move its head via a flexible neck while opening and closing its anatomically correct jaw. It may have made sounds to the accompaniment of automated drums. On the outside, the robot is dressed in a typical German-Italian suit of armor of the late fifteenth century. This robot would influence his later anatomical studies in which he modeled the human limbs with cords to simulate the tendons and muscles.

23854


1543
In England, John Dee creates a wooden beetle that can fly for an undergraduate production of Aristophanes' Pax.

1560?

They don't make 'em like they used to: there's a robot monk at the Smithsonian Institution that has been functional since 1560. The story goes that King Philip II of Spain commissioned a "mechanic" to honor the life of Didacus of Alcalá, a monk that Philip thought saved his son's life.

The resulting robo-monk is made of wood and iron and is driven by a spring wound with a key. Its mechanisms are surprisingly complex: the monk walks in a square, raises a cross and rosary, moves his lips, and even rolls his eyes. He also devoutly kisses the cross from time to time.

1739
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As watch making developed in the Age of Enlightenment in the eighteenth century, so did the art of creating mechanical people and animals. Jacques Vaucason created numerous working figures, including a flute player, which actually played the instrument, in 1738, plus this duck from 1739. The gilded copper bird could sit, stand, splash around in water, quack and even give the impression of eating food and digesting it:

23857

Euphonia, a machine that could mimic a human voice, was developed by Joseph Faber in the middle years of the nineteenth century. Using German accented English, it could read the alphabet, sing, whisper, laugh and even utter the words “How do you do, ladies and gentlemen”. Apparently anyone who inspected the Euphonia’s mechanical workings was convinced that no trickery was involved, such as Faber employing a ventriloquist:

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I wonder if this is where the term "iron horse" actually comes from

Check out this link for more:
Dark Roasted Blend: Amazing Automatons, Robots & Victorian Androids

I am not sure what to make of all of this. On one hand, it could fit within the official timeline and they haven't had the opportunity to create a fully realized robot until recently. However, i find it hard to believe that John Dee made a flying Beetle for "an undergraduate production of Aristophanes' Pax." Does that seem realistic?

I do not believe what they are showing us is all that was made. Along with the robots pulling carts...I think it is possible that if there was a civilization here that we overthrew that this tech was widely used and not just novelty items for the rich.
 

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WildFire2000

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The Da vinci robot reminds me of normal suits of armor, presented to us as Knights from the medieval/dark ages that are absolutely and completely impractical at all for humans to wear. If you actually look at most of them, and REALLY look, a modern day human couldn't fit in most of them at all, especially not if they planned to walk, ride, or fight in them. Combine that with the questions about architecture of castles, reports that most 'Knights' and lords who were known to wear them were ever seen without their armor and/or their helmets .....

Are we being presented with a cover-up for a wide-scale existence of robots that were used all across the world for .. well, look at the missing materials, transportation of said materials, MAN POWER to construct all of these buildings. Did we (humanity) actually have robots working tirelessly? Did we actually come from some sort of utopia-type civilization that the last reset obliterated to the point it became unrecognizable?

Fallout 4, based in Boston, has Diamond City as one of the first bastions of still living civilization 200 years after the nuclear event that destroyed the world. Listen to this character describe Baseball, and how it was played, based on the items they found in the park when they started trying to rebuild.

Baseball, 200 years later

Does the distortion sound remotely similar?
 

WildFire2000

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Your thread on the automatons, they perform events, "pre-programmed" with directions, including writing whatever messages you want. - Now, I'm not saying the suits of armor were fully mobile and just ran around doing whatever they wanted. My suggestion is more that we found their remains and created this idea that fit within the framework that humans wore the 'armor' to fight and it was used by elite ruler-type people.

The flip side of that, of course, was the question about robots that could work to build structures or transport goods from one place to another, based on the steam 'highway' carriages and things from THAT thread you recently posted. It's late, I worked a 12-hour shift today, I'm throwing thoughts at the wall here, trying to tie things together. We have castles that had lords in armor that were never seen outside of the armor by many accounts. We have castles where human waste and sewage needs were never (apparently) taken into consideration until centuries (supposedly) later.

I don't know, I'm just throwing some loose ideas out there with some minor connections. I'm so at a loss to explain what bits of this lost history that we find that I'm just reaching to tie things together when I can.
 

SuperTrouper

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I’m just saying that we really do not know what those people back then were capable of. Personally, I would not rule out an AI. This ridiculous statement I will try to substantiate in a different thread.
I don't think that it is ridiculous at all. If humans have lived on this planet for approximately 200,000 years, and knowing that genetically those early humans were equal to today's humans (i.e. equally intelligent), it is highly plausible that the AI was invented and reinvented quite a few times.
 

Timeshifter

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Only robots with some sort of AI, could independently perform such tasks, imho.
Agree, unless they were some how operated, or managed (programmed) remotely. ie they only operated a repeated set of actions, in a certain space.

Given we don't know (but can guess) the scale of tech, electricity, aether, it could be holy possible for automatons to perfume duties, without direct AI, a bit like a car plant but more mobile?

It would make sense for soldiers too, and missing populations, perhaps the majority of populations were robots, and did not require burial, just dismantling or melting down?

:unsure:
 

Obertryn

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I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see robots before the concept was supposedly first proposed by Isaac Asimov. As mentioned, assuming humans have remained more or less the same for the hundreds of thousands of years of our existence, it's kind of silly to assume knowledge as an exponential growth, where there's nothing, nothing, nothing, then BOOM, trains and cars and guns and tanks and computers and televisions and skyscrapers in the span of two centuries, which is still less than it took to fully colonize the New World according to conventional history.

I propose that people discovered remains of older technology, figured out the basics without understanding the deeper concepts (kind of how a person can learn Java programming and get by mostly fine without understanding assembly language or the complex mathematical theories behind computing) and went to town, which is why you have things like carriages drawn by robotic horses instead of just full-on mechas or something. It's medieval mentality married to 21st century tech.
 

AnthroposRex

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The scale of the first automaton pulling the cart.

He's huge.

Was this tech from the giants but designed for smaller human size? Or maybe they fitted a regular cart to it? When I look at all the buildings with two large floors and a smaller human sized floor at the top, I have to wonder if there was a significant period of overlap where giants and today's sized humans worked together.

Maybe it's an automated taxi from the old world.
 

Maxine

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Only robots with some sort of AI, could independently perform such tasks, imho.
My opinion on how robots could work without any "AI" is that back then they probably were able to give them some sort of soul, or created artificial soul for them!
 

Tigermouse

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Seems to me that some people in the distant past (Greece for example) had the imagination to have thought up complex machines supposedly for works of fiction... in a period that is belived to have had virtually no machinary with no frame of reference???
This in its self seems improbable. Machanics and robotic enginering have to be very old to have been included in what we now call legends.
 

Worsaae

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The mathematics behind the current ai technology was already invented almost 100 years ago and really who knows if it was really "invented" at that time. The primary reason we see the implementation of ai now instead of earlier is because the hardware has improved and because the internet has increased the amount of data the AI can train on/learn from.
If there was a reset then AI doesn't seem far out to me. It's entirely possible that science fiction is used to guide society/science in specific directions that tptb already know about but have possibly lost access to
 

SelfChosen1

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One of the things that I think David Icke is telling the truth about recently is the fact that all of these devices that are being introduced to us today have been around already for a very long time. They had the blueprints from Atlantis or whatever civilizations that existed before. This is the reason they all get rolled out and so fast. Think about the time machine as well, with another race of beings living underground or elsewhere that designs these machines but cultivates us like cattle for feeding.
 

Cemen

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In 1770, Pierre Jaquet-Dro built a mechanical boy doll, which can be programmed to write text of up to 40 characters.

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In 1784, an automaton was assembled, made in the image of the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette. The doll rotates its eyes, looks around, moves its head, breathes and plays a musical instrument.

 

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