Automated caveman

“Despite his wide-open situation, the caveman on this photo is feeling no pain. With fellow tribesmen, he will soon be settling down for a stay in the Ford Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair. Members of the “clan grin, groan, and grunt, view a giant bear with alarm, point, push, and haul a dead mammoth, draw wall pictures, and create fire. One of them invents the wheel.”

These creatures of Walt Disney and his WED studios were meant to be the animated cavemen that visitors to the Fair would see and hear from the seats of latest-model Ford convertibles gliding past a prehistoric panorama. A system called Audio-Animatronics orchestrated the gestures and sounds of our primordial ancestors as modernity concealed in a convertible slid by. A new invention invariably outdates its forerunners. What happens however when an automaton crashes without having invented its replacement? In the years to come most of our inventions will have to be repaired as unlikely will be substituted. Modernity no longer glides…

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