Where does the term “robot” come from and what does it mean? The Slavic language and the concept of slavery have something to do with it

Robot” is a word that today more than ever has many meanings, from physical machines designed to perform tasks autonomously, to artificial intelligence systems. Generally, however, the term “robot” refers to a machine designed and programmed by man to move objects, perform different jobs and tasks. Few people know, however, that the roots of the term date back to Slavic language and the concepts of forced labor and slavery.

The term “robot” spread especially starting from the theatrical work RUR (Rossum's Universal Robots) written by the Czech playwright Karel Čapek in 1920. The word in turn derives from the Czech word (and not only) robotawhich indicates the heavy worktiring. Robota in turn comes from the Slavic and recalls the concept of serfdom And slavery.

The drama RUR proposes a reflection on the fears that 20th century man feels when faced with the unprecedented speed with which the scientific progress advance. In the work the robots are those who work in place of the workers. The etymological link with the concept of slavery reflects the conception of robots as entities created to carry out menial or dangerous jobs in place of human beings.

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