Sunday, November 20, 2005

The World of Automatons

This is a picture of an automaton built in 1773 by Pierre Jaquet-Droz and fils. He constructed several, I believe, of which only three survive. According to info I've been able to garner, they could be considered the ancestor of the computer. The three are: The Musician, The Writer, and the Draughtsman.
According to the one of the sites where I found info on them, they were also, perhaps, an inspiration for Mary Shelley's _Frankenstein_. This site, authored by a woman named Julie S. Porter, has some interesting info; she looks to be some kind of clock/watchmaker, computer sofware engineer, and overall Renaissance Fair enthusiast/participant. Bless her! Anyway, she claims that the term "android" was invented in order to account for these mechanical dolls.

Why does all this matter? What does it have to do with anything? Well, I'm in the porcess of trying to figure that out.

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