Edison's Eve: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life

Edison's Eve: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life

by Gaby Wood
     
 

ISBN-10: 0679451129

ISBN-13: 9780679451129

Pub. Date: 08/13/2002

Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group

"Could an eighteenth-century mechanical duck really digest and excrete its food? Was "the Turk," a celebrated chess-playing and -winning machine fabricated in 1769, a dazzling piece of fakery, or could it actually think? Why was Thomas Edison obsessed with making a mechanical doll - a perfect woman, mass-produced? Can a twenty-first-century robot express human…  See more details below

Overview

"Could an eighteenth-century mechanical duck really digest and excrete its food? Was "the Turk," a celebrated chess-playing and -winning machine fabricated in 1769, a dazzling piece of fakery, or could it actually think? Why was Thomas Edison obsessed with making a mechanical doll - a perfect woman, mass-produced? Can a twenty-first-century robot express human emotions of its own?" Taking up themes long familiar from the realms of fairy tales and science fiction, Gaby Wood traces the hidden prehistory of a modern idea - the thinking, hoaxes, and inventions that presaged contemporary robotics and the current experiments with artificial intelligence. Informed by the author's scientific and historical research, Edison's Eve is also a brilliant literary, cultural, and philosophical examination of the motives that have driven human beings to pursue the creation of mechanical life, and the effects of that pursuit - both in its successes and in its failures - on our sense of what makes us human.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679451129
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/13/2002
Edition description:
1 AMER ED
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 7.76(h) x 1.18(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsxi
Introductionxiii
1The Blood of an Android3
2An Unreasonable Game60
3Journey to the Perfect Woman111
4Magical Mysteries, Mechanical Dreams164
5The Doll Family213
Epilogue264
Acknowledgements267
Bibliography271
Index291

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