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Jean-Claude Heudin

Robots and Avatars

Jean-Claude Heudin, a specialist in artificial intelligence, is a professor and the director of the research laboratory at the International Multimedia Institute of the Leonardo da Vinci University Centre, at La Défense (Paris). Previously, he worked for ten years in the electronics and telecommunications business. He is notably the author of Les Créatures artificielles (2008).


Since earliest times, human beings have tried to create life. Among the many legends that recount such attempts, one of the most enduring is the story of Pygmalion and Galatea. After carving a statue of a beautiful woman, Pygmalion fell in love with his work, and was desperately unhappy until Venus brought the statue to life. Since then, Galatea’s successors have come in many shapes: from living statues to automata, from robots to cyborgs and clones, from AI to avatars, not to mention the ghosts that haunt computer memories.
Included here is a series of spectacular full-colour images, which illustrate the evolution of these artificial creatures.

James Cameron’s latest film, Avatars, should stimulate interest in the subject of AI.
This is a beautifully illustrated book that will take readers, young and old alike, on a magnificent voyage of discovery, amid robots and virtual worlds: from Metropolis to Terminator, from Star Wars to Lara Croft, from the Sims and Second Life to Aibo, the Sony-created “dog”.
Robots & Avatars is a highly accessible introduction to the latest technological advances that herald tomorrow’s world.