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HomeRoboticsRobotic centenary – 100 years since ‘robotic’ made its debut

Robotic centenary – 100 years since ‘robotic’ made its debut

Robotics remained at the vanguard of expertise improvement in 2021, but it was 100 years earlier in 1921 that the phrase robotic (in its trendy sense) made its public debut. Czech writer Karel Čapek’s play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Common Robots) imagined a world wherein humanoids referred to as ‘roboti’ have been created in a manufacturing facility. Karel’s brother, the artist and author Josef Čapek had first coined the time period robotic earlier than Karel adopted it for this theatrical imaginative and prescient.

The Slavic root of the phrase is even older and even its first recognized look in English dates again practically 200 years. Through the time of the Habsburgs and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, robotic referred to a type of pressured labour much like slavery. In Čapek’s play, the roboti have been being manufactured as serfs to serve human wants.

These days we might see Čapek’s creations extra as androids reasonably than robots within the trendy sense. Nevertheless, the result of the play, with the robots rebelling towards the people and taking up the world, has since develop into a trope of science fiction which persists to today. And but the supposed message in Čapek’s play wasn’t in regards to the inherent dangers of robots however of the dehumanising risks of rampant mechanisation. We all know that in style tradition has taken a distinct studying from the play, in fact, with robots on display screen and in print extra more likely to be forged because the dangerous man, though there are some notable exceptions, too. It’s attention-grabbing to marvel how totally different the mainstream picture of robots is perhaps right now if Čapek’s play had positioned his roboti and their house owners in a extra mutually benevolent relationship.

Čapek’s robots first appeared on the display screen in a BBC tv manufacturing of R.U.R. in 1938. Three years later the phrase ‘robotics’ was first used as a time period for the sphere of analysis and expertise that develops and manufactures robots. Like ‘robotic’ in its trendy sense, ‘robotics’ additionally has its origins within the artistic creativeness, due to a person who was born in the identical 12 months that the Čapek brothers have been bringing the fashionable ‘robotic’ into the world. Science fiction author Isaac Azimov famously coined his three legal guidelines of robotics, which proceed to resonate in discussions in regards to the moral use of robots, in 1941. By the way, Azimov wasn’t a fan of the play itself however his legal guidelines have been designed exactly to forestall the sort of tragedy imagined in Čapek’s play.

euRobotics AISBL
is a Brussels primarily based worldwide non-profit affiliation for all stakeholders in European robotics.

euRobotics AISBL
is a Brussels primarily based worldwide non-profit affiliation for all stakeholders in European robotics.



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