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"Science fiction is really sociological studies of the future, things that the writer believes are going to happen by putting two and two together."
- Ray Bradbury

Supervision Robot (Squid)  
  A wheeled device with tentacular grasping limbs.  

Then there was a rattle of an exhaust off to the right, and a whirl of machinery up the road. A horrible looking thing on wheels dashed up and made directly for Ames, focussing on him its glaring headlights. He stopped as though rooted to the spot. A more frightful looking thing has never been imagined in all the lore of sea-monsters and dragons. It was the same thing that I had caught a glimpse of that night on the dock, or another thing just like it. Its general form was that of a huge motorcycle, with a great coffin-shaped box seven feet high between the wheels, at the top of which were two goggly headlights. Only, the first time I had seen it, it had seemed to have some sort of black ropes coiled round and round the box. Now these were unwound. They waved about, felt around, coiled and uncoiled, and grasped at the empty air; ten or a dozen huge, black tentacles, filling the air with sinuous, snaky masses.

Right in the middle of the road, in plain view of a couple of hundred people, it reached for Ames and wrapped a black coil around him.


(Supervision Robot from 'Paradise and Iron' by Miles Breuer)

I started toward him in big jumps, at the same time opening a heavy pocketknife that I carried. As I reached him, I felt the coil of a tentacle about me, and was surprised at the strength of it. However, with a quick squirm I managed to duck out of its grasp. I grasped Ames' arm and slashed away with my knife at the coils about him.

As the tentacles waved about me and coiled and bent, I could hear a continuous clicking coming from them. When I cut at them with my knife I struck something hard, some metal. It seemed that my knife first went through a layer of something soft, rubber perhaps, and then slipped in between metal plates; and I could feel it catch and cut through wires. As it went through, a purple spark followed it, and a spark bit into my hand. Thus, while my body and arms struggled with the monster, my mind grappled with the astounding revelation, that this was not some animal enclosed within the box, some sea-monster as I had supposed. These snaky, twisting tentacles were mechanical things, built up of metal discs and wires, and carrying a high-frequency current.

Technovelgy from Paradise and Iron, by Miles J. Breuer.
Published by Amazing Stories Quarterly in 1930
Additional resources -

Here's where the protagonist gives it a name:

And then I saw the Squid! That was the name I associated with the two-wheeled, tentacled machine that had carried away Ames from the dancing pavilion on the day that he had missed Supervision and sent Dubois in his place. Of course, I was not sure that it was the same machine; but whenever I saw anything like it, it was always alone of its kind; and I felt quite sure that it was always the same machine. In general, it did not really look like a squid; but it handled its tentacles as a squid does. For a moment I saw its goggly headlights and black, coiled, ropy tentacles in the press behind me; it towered high above all other two-wheeled vehicles, and darted in and out with a superior swiftness among the clumsier machines.

Compare to the steel tentacles from The War of the Worlds (1898) by H.G. Wells.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Paradise and Iron
  More Ideas and Technology by Miles J. Breuer
  Tech news articles related to Paradise and Iron
  Tech news articles related to works by Miles J. Breuer

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