We Are Sure you Had no Idea, but Robots are from Czechia.

If you ever wondered where the robots are coming from, their literal place of birth is Czechia. The very first robot was born from the imagination of an exceptional writer, a visionary, who depicted the technology of today.

This article, bursting with robots, is the second of a series that will depict the connection between literary imagination and technology (software development, robots, embedded tech, etc. ). Read the first part here.

The word robot comes from the word robota. The word robota means literally hard work in Czech. It also means work or labor in Slovak, archaic Czech, and many other Slavic languages as Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Polish, Macedonian, Ukrainian. 

Karel Čapek was the first to use the word robot in his play R.U.R. in 1920. He wrote a book around this word, but the actual inventor is his brother, painter, and writer Josef Čapek. The brothers debated the best possible name for the heroes of Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti (Rossum s Universal Robots). Josef helped him with the name that, now, is universally used. 

Returning to Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti, the work quickly became influential after its publication. And just a couple of years later, it was translated into more than 30 languages.

Rossum is a factory that makes artificial people, the roboti. They are living creatures of man-made flesh and blood, not made of cold metal and cables. They look very similar to humans and can think for themselves. At first, they work happily for the humans. Later, they rebel and manage to extinct the human race. 

We have some further reading suggestions for the most bookworm-ish of our visitors. Čapek later took a different approach to the same theme, in War with the Newts, you will love the book! Do not miss The Absolute at Large (Továrna na absolutno), where Capek‘s vision of future consumerism is in full display. 

Cyborgs came around in 1923, but only in literature.

The Clockwork Man was a cyborg, as the term was coined for the first time by E.V. Odle in 1923. Some devices implemented in the humans’ heads will permit us to move unhindered through time and space, living complacent, well-regulated lives. Of course, one of these clockwork devices had a glitch, so a clockwork man appears accidentally in the 1920 s, at a cricket match in a small English village.

But it was not until 1972 that the cyborg concept reached more popularity when Martin Caidins novel Cyborg speculated in-depth about human-like bionic limbs. Something that today is a reality.

The Teleoperated robot surrogates of 1938

Robots were popular when Manly Wade Wellman imagined a very early fictional description of teleoperated robots. 

The Robot and the Lady depicts a love story; the writer s imagination can mingle with any concepts, even in 1938. It has a happy ever after the end, the book itself, and the technology, also. Some robot surrogates already exist, some helping in great causes, as the Inmoov Robots for Good for hospitalized children.

You might know that our colleagues from CoSo Netherlands are specialized in robotic process automation. They are software RPA robots, but they really do the hard work.

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