Rossum’s Universal Robots

“They have a phenomenal memory. If you were to read them a twenty-volume encyclopaedia they could repeat the contents in order, but they never think up anything original. They’d make fine university professors.” ~ R.U.R

 

The defining text for robots, Rossum’s Universal Robots is a facial science fiction play written in the 1920’s as a commentary on the inherent dangers of socialism, capitalism, technology, human nature, the coming AI “displacement” of human jobs and workers, and everything in-between.

It was also the text that introduced the word “robot” onto the English Language.

Karel Čapek, the author, was undoubtably a great wit and a great thinker. His little play unpacked some of the key issues we are still grappling about today: human rights, robot rights, and the enteral trades off between liberty, equality and responsibility.

Definitely worth a read; as relevant for the 2020’s as it was for the 1920’s.

 

 

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