Tag Archives: Automata

1930: Work Must Not Cease

A performance of Karel Capek’s R.U.R. at the Haohel Theater, Tel Aviv in 1930. The play opens in Rossum’s Universal Robots (thus the title), a factory which manufactures artificial humanoids designed to be perfect obedient workers. At first, the robots … Continue reading

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1732: The Morals of Chess

Although Benjamin Franklin likely composed his essay “The Morals of Chess” as early as 1732, it was first published in 1786, during the height of interest surrounding Wolfgang von Kempelen’s mechanical chess-playing Turk; Franklin himself had lost to the machine … Continue reading

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1649: Descartes’s Wooden Daughter

When Descartes resided in Holland, with great labour and industry he made a female Automaton—which occasioned some wicked wits to publish that he had an illegitimate daughter, named Franchine—to prove demonstratively that beasts have no souls, and that they are … Continue reading

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