Adrienne Mayor

Historian, Folklorist; 2018-19 Berggruen Fellow at CASBS

Adrienne Mayor explores the deep roots of the impulse to fabricate artificial life, beings “made, not born.” Gathering evidence that concepts of robots, animated statues, human enhancements, and Artificial Intelligence arose long before technological innovations made them possible, Mayor looks at Greek myths (and tales from Egypt, India, and China) that envisioned ways to imitate, augment, and surpass nature by bio-techne, “life through craft.”

A historian of ancient science and research scholar in classics and history and philosophy of science at Stanford since 2006, Mayor’s books include Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws: Classical Myths, Historical Oddities, and Scientific Curiosities (Princeton University Press 2022), Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology (Princeton University Press 2018), The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times (Princeton, 2000); Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World (revised, updated, Princeton University Press, 2022), The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women (Princeton, 2014); and a biography of Mithradates. The Poison King (Princeton, 2010), is a National Book Award finalist. In 2018-19, she is a Berggruen Fellow at CASBS.

By Adrienne Mayor

Gods And Robots

Coming Soon to YouTube: A Berggruen Institute Salon Featuring Adrienne Mayor, Berggruen Fellow at CASBS, and Margaret Levi, Berggruen Institute Board Member

The Concept of the ‘Uncanny Valley’ Dates to 1970. The Phenomenon Is Thousands of Years Older

An AI Wake-Up Call From Ancient Greece