Artificial humans were always there, moving and sleeping amongst us. Their first traces are in the ancient myths of Prometheus and Pygmalion. In the eighteenth century they took the form of mechanical dolls, forerunners of the hi-tech Japanese robots of our own day produced in the engineering labs of Waseda and Osaka Universities. The authors follow the track of these humanoid constructs through various countries and across more than two thousand years of history, reflecting on the ideas that spawned them (Descartes, Leibniz, LaMettrie) and the social, technological and medical developments that accompanied and to a great extent explain them.
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 258 pp., 20 coloured fig.
Contents: Mythological origins – History of androids, cyborgs and replicants – Descartes, Leibniz, LaMettrie and the man-machine
discussion – Dissecting corpses, prosthetics and xeno-transplantation – Clones, military robots, and artificial women – Artificial
intelligence research and its critics – The social background and development of the machine age – Film history (Frankenstein,
Metropolis, Blade Runner etc.).