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A golem, in medieval folklore[?], is an animated being made from clay or stone. It is derived from Hebrew mythology and is said to contain a scroll with magic or religious words that keep it animated. Their existence was a mixed blessing. Although not overly intelligent, they could be made to perform simple tasks over and over forever. The problem was getting them to stop. The most famous tale involves the golem created by the 16th century rabbi Judah Low ben Bezulel of Prague, and was the basis for Gustav Meyrink's 1915 novel Der Golem.

The word golem is used in the Bible (Psalms 19:16) and in Talmudic literature to refer to an embryonic or incomplete substance. It comes from the word gelem, which means raw material.

A modern version of the old legends is the play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) by Karel Capek.

Nowadays, Golem has been chosen as the name of an ambitious project on robot evolution (http://golem03.cs-i.brandeis.edu).


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