Time Is Golden, Midjourney Art, Reivin Alexandria

The Antikythera mechanism is widely considered the world's first computer. Made of bronze, containing over thirty interlocking gears, and hailing from Athens in the period between Plato and Christ. Its purpose? Enter a date, and receive a flurry of astrological and calendrical information, including the positions of the planets, and the timing of eclipses.

One has to wonder—did ancient Astrologers denounce this technology, complaining it was putting them out of work? Did commentators grudgingly acknowledge its uses, while assuring themselves it was no substitute for the Oracle at Delphi? Did some view the device as the herald of a new age?

What follows are thirteen pieces on the theme of Automaton. They trawl the ancient past and forecast the uncertain future, touching on mythology, singularity, existential crisis, and frat parties. Enjoy!

"Prophetic Singularity Watch" by Daniel Pinchbeck

Could AI fulfill an ancient prophecy?

"My Hermetic Sanctuary" by Ben Bell

A phenomenal reflection on technology leads to contemplation of its social implications.

"Showdown: Who is more complex, a human or ChatGPT?" by Arielle Friedman

Battle royale between man and machine.

"The Spy Who Invented an Empire" by Gabriel Mason

The story of the man who invented the British Empire, inspired 007, and dabbled with AI.

"Jack-in-the-Box by the Sea" by Ana de la Pena

A wealthy woman becomes her opposite.

"American Cultland: Greek life enculturating debauched robots" by Matthew Dillon

A searing look into the heart of American frat culture.

"Automaton; I Am (Not)" by Susan Gordon

A woman unravels Rudolph Steiner's view of evil, while battling internet addiction.

"Mind the Gap" by Paradox Pollack

What do television, human evolution, and checklists have in common?

"The Morning After" by David R. Lincoln

Dredging up the lessons of past ages, while struggling with the new realities of AI.

"The Automatic Myth" by Chris Christou

Is AI the culmination of the human mythological saga?

"On Building Apocalyptic Gods" by James Murdock

AI may lead to the greatest good—or the greatest evil.

"Crossing the River" by Dory Cote

In a different time and place than our own, automation changes a man's life.

"Pink Madder" by Valerie Smith

Is motherhood the ultimate automation?