Where does the word 'robot' come from? - Deepstash
Where does the word 'robot' come from?

Where does the word 'robot' come from?

Curated from: sciencefocus.com

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The word 'robot'

The word 'robot'

  • 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the entry' robot' into the language.
  • In 1920, Czech writer Karel Čapek wrote a play, R.U.R., or Rossum's Universal Robots. R.U.R. refers to the name of a company devoted to making artificial people where they do the work humans prefer not to do. "You will be free and supreme: you will have no other task, no other work, no other cares than to perfect your own being…"
  • In the play, the utopia doesn't last. In R.U.R.'s wake, the robots revolt, turn on their masters and slaughter everyone on the planet.

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"Robot" enters the Oxford English Dictionary

R.U.R. was first performed in Prague in January 1921 and was such a success that an English-language adaptation was on Broadway in 1922.

By 1923, the play had been translated into thirty languages. By the end of that decade, the Oxford English Dictionary defined "robot" as "a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically."

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"Robots" comes from the Czech word "robota"

Karel Čapek first thought of calling his artificial people "labors," but was not satisfied and turned to his brother Josef for advice. Josef suggested the Czech word "robota," which referred to a system of forced serf labour.

When Čapek wrote R.U.R., he was known as one of the leading anti-fascist commentators of the 1930s. His writing, ideas, style, and attitude brought him to the attention of the Nazis, who named him "public enemy number two" in Czechoslovakia.

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