Member Blogs > Books Tell You WhyKarel Čapek and the Origin of the Word Robot

  • Sat, 09 Jan 2016 08:00:00    Permalink
    Karel Čapek and the Origin of the Word Robot

    Karel Čapek’s Czech play RUR, (Rossum’s Universal Robots) is notable for numerous reasons. Written in 1920, the play's commentary on the politics of its day earned its author a spot on the Nazi most-wanted list. RUR details a robot revolution that would overthrow the dominant class, humans, and lead to their extinction. Above all, the play is most well known for introducing the world to the word, "robot." In fact, before Čapek’s play, what we think of as robots were mainly called "androids" or "automatons," with "automaton" meaning a self-operating machine. In Czech, "robota"translates to "forced labor." It’s associated with the type of work done by serfs during the feudal ages.

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