Artificial humans have always been there, moving and sleeping amongst us. Their first traces are in the ancient myths of Prometheus and Pygmalion. There, 700 years before our era, we find Pandora, the archetypal femme fatale, a dazzling construct of the Gods conceived for the downfall of man. She and her ivory sister Galatea, younger than her by several centuries, have experienced countless mutati...
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e course of time. The 16th century saw the emergence of the test-tube manikin Homunculus, followed in the 18th century by the first automatons, the so-called androids. Robots, cyborgs, replicants and clones, as they are known today, have established themselves primarily in the domains of literature and sci-fi films. They are there to be seen and touched, however, in the engineering laboratories of Japanese universities, where they entertain their visitors with prepared speeches and carefully calculated movements. Mostly artificial women, they are indeed up to all sorts of games. 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 (da Vinci, Descartes, Bacon, Leibniz) and the social, technological and medical developments that accompanied and to a great extent explain them.