The Longest Now


The Age of Magical Machines
Thursday June 05th 2003, 5:24 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

Referring, of course, to the eighteenth century


On the illusion of steady progress:


The remarkable automata of the 1700’s would still be considered some of the more wondrous of the world’s robots, were they in working order today.  Vaucanson’s duck, for instance, which moved with the nuances of a live duck and consumed food, and by various accounts swam and digested/excreted its meals (though perhaps it only excreted predigested food, while hiding away the food it ate).  
     Elaborate lifesize musical creations which looked like people and played popular tunes on real instruments – string and wind instruments, mind you – were quite popular as well.  Nowadays one is lucky to find an AIBO with an even vaguely realistic voice.


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