Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"The science fiction method is dissection and reconstruction. You look at the world around you, and take it apart into its components. Then you take some of those components, throw them away, and plug in different ones, start it up and see what happens."
- Frederik Pohl

Robot  
  A (usually human-shaped) artifact with the same kinds of abilities as a human - this is the first use of the word 'robot'.  

This play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) premiered in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1921. The word "robot" comes from the Czech word robota, which means "drudgery" or "servitude"; a robotnik is a serf who performs menial labor.

Domin: "Practically speaking, what is the best kind of worker?"

Helena: "The best? Probably the one who-- who-- who is honest-- and dedicated."

Domin: "No, it's the one that's the cheapest. The one with the fewest needs... [Young Rossum] chucked out everything not directly related to work, and [in] doing that he virtually rejected the human being and created the Robot."

From R.U.R., by Karel Capek.
Published by Not Available in 1920
Additional resources -

Although today we usually think of the word "robot" in association with some sort of electromechanical being made of metal and spare parts, the artifact in the play R.U.R. is closer to what we would call an android. The robots were fabricated in a biological manner.

They remember everything, while at the same time thinking of nothing new; one of the characters remarks that "they'd make fine university professors."

Capek himself credits his brother Josef Capek as the originator of the term "robot". The play was issued in an English translation in 1923, introducing the term to the English-speaking world.

It appears that Isaac Asimov, rightly famed for his collection of stories about robots, was the originator of associated terms like "robotics" and "roboticist".

The idea of an artificial person is quite old. The ancient Greek legend of Cadmus, who sowed dragon teeth that turned into soldiers, is one example. Another is the story of Pygmalion, an artist so great that one of his beautiful sculptures, Galatea, came to life. The Greeks also tell of Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, who created metal mechanical figures; the mythical mechanical creation Talos defended Crete.

Capek himself recognized that his "robota" were recreations of the golem, a creation of Jewish folklore. The golem is formed of earth or clay in a roughly human shape and then animated by religious or magical forces.

The Greek genius Ctesibius of Alexandria created clocks that activated simple automata at set times in the third century B.C. His machines and automata were described in a First Century A.D. document by Heron of Alexandria. See the term andy from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick for another look at non-mechanical robots.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from R.U.R.
  More Ideas and Technology by Karel Capek
  Tech news articles related to R.U.R.
  Tech news articles related to works by Karel Capek

Robot-related news articles:
  - Roomba's Brother PackBot
  - Android Weightlifter Now Capable Of Body Slam
  - Wakamaru Robot Receptionists Hired By Temp Agency
  - RunBot Learns To Walk At Human Speed

Articles related to Robotics
Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
Blood Battery Robotic Fish
Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Michelin Self-Sealing Tires On Ford's Explorer
'...a seal of compressed plastifoam to save the air.'

Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!

Juggalo Face Paint Disrupts Facial Recognition
'... designed to foil facial recognition systems.'

Mojipic Smart Voice Vehicle Emojis
KITT, what's your response?

Unusual Twist On Woman Dates Robot
'My hearing, vision and awareness went along with that excellent imitation of a young Adonis...'

BrainNet Triple Telepathic Gaming Threat
'In the gloomy half-darkness the three idiots sat babbling.'

AVAS Noisemakers Required For EVs By EU
'...a sound tape to supply the noise of a soi-disant "[internal combustion]" engine...'

Pun Generation Via Neural Nets
'You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags...'

Blood Battery Robotic Fish
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Lightyear One Solar-Powered Electric Car (Design By Heinlein)
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.