The origin of robots. The end of mankind? Written in 1920 by Czechoslovakian playwright Karel Capek, “R.U.R: Rossum’s Universal Robots” gives us much of what we know today about robots [...]
The origin of robots. The end of mankind?
Written in 1920 by Czechoslovakian playwright Karel Capek, “R.U.R: Rossum’s Universal Robots” gives us much of what we know today about robots and artificial intelligence. Including the word “robot” itself. The word was coined by Karel’s brother from the Czech word “robotni” for “worker” or “serf”.
The story takes place on an island where the factory that produces thousands upon thousands of robots for customers all around the world. Many years before, the inventor of the process, known as “Old Rossum” had found a naturally occurring substance from which he could produce the building blocks of various forms of life. His son took that process and began mass-producing robots.
Now, with the process in the hands of the ambitious company director, Harry Domin, the robots are being produced faster and faster and sold all over the world. But as robots are given more to do, people are put out of work and find little purpose in life. People fight back, but the robots are used to put down this rebellion. This teaches the robots a valuable lesson: how to kill humans.
Meanwhile, one of the scientists on the island where they produce the robots has been tinkering with them. Increasing their skills, their intelligence and even giving them pain. Some would say, a soul.
But as the years go by and humans stop reproducing. There is no purpose to human life, the company’s builder, Alquist, believes. Domin’s wife, Helena, takes a drastic step to stop this, to allow humans to flourish again. But in doing so, she inadvertently takes away the one bargaining chip the surviving humans have when the robots revolt.
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