Monday, December 30, 2002

Robot was invented in 1920

Exceprpt of the Play "Rossums Universal Robots" by Karel Capek, 1920

DOMAIN: So young Rossum said to himself: a man is something that, for

instance, feels happy, plays the fiddle, likes going for walks, and, in
fact, wants to do a whole lot of things that aren't fully necessary.


DOMAIN: Wait a bit. That are unnecessary when he's wanted, let us
say, to weave or count. Do you play the fiddle?


DOMAIN: That's a pity. But a working machine must not want to play
the fiddle, must not feel happy, must not do a whole lot of other things.
A petrol motor must not have tassels or ornaments, Miss Glory. And to
manufacture artificial workers is the same thing as to manufacture
motors. The process must be the simplest, and the product must be the
best from a practical point of view. What sort of worker do you think is
the best from a practical point of view?

HELENA: The best? Perhaps the one who is most honest and hard-

DOMAIN: No, the cheapest. The one whose needs are the smallest.
Young Rossum invented a worker with the minimum amount of requirements.
He had to simplify him. He rejected everything that did not contribute
directly to the progress of work. He rejected everything that makes
man more expensive. In fact, he rejected man and made the Robot.

And the year was 1920. It was The Year of Our Lord, The Decimal System
And in two days it will be 2003. The Year of Our Lord, ???

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