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The “Enlightenment Automaton” in the Modern Industrial Age

The “Enlightenment Automaton” in the Modern Industrial Age

(p.201) Six The “Enlightenment Automaton” in the Modern Industrial Age
Androids in the Enlightenment
Adelheid Voskuhl
University of Chicago Press

This chapter surveys how the two women automata and the larger set of Enlightenment automata and ideas about them “traveled” from their eighteenth-century origins, through the various phases of industrialization in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and were increasingly used over this period as symbols of industrial modernity overall. The journey through the industrial age demonstrates how widely eighteenth-century automata were used and reveals the conduits through which they remained visible and credible motifs throughout this long time window, to this day. Representative texts from key episodes are used to provide an overview, treating some in greater detail to explain the origins of explicit and implicit assumptions about Enlightenment automata and their role in our imagination of the machine age.

Keywords:   android automata, industrial age, Enlightenment, industrialization, machine age

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