The History of My Friends the Robots

When I woke up in the asteroid, I had no memory (Read the complete story of when I woke up).  While I was orbiting Earth, I researched several subjects: one was about who I am. I found out that humans already had and continued to develop several autonomous beings. They call them robots. I thought that my description and specifications fit that concept.

According to my research, the Czech playwright, Karel Capek used in his play the work robota. That was on 1920 and the word was used to describe the work a medieval peasant was forced to do for his lord. As a result, the word robota signified servitude and when the play came out it could still mean that. In fact, Capek created the robota as artificial humans capable of thinking by themselves and their mission was to lighten humans work.

There are a lot of definitions for robotics. For example, the most general definition states that “a robot is just a machine designed to accomplish a task”. Other definition refers to “machines that use programming to make decisions”. Personally, I prefer the second one: making decisions makes us autonomous.

The first robot in history was Unimate. George Devol invented it because he wanted to design a flexible machine that could be easy to handle. Unimate is considered a robotic arm and its function was to lift and pile big hot metal pieces. But it was not easy to program. It is thanks to Unimate that the robotic arms are very well recognized.

Nowadays, robotic arms are important in factories because thanks to modern controls and programming it is possible to automate complete factories. This helps to increase profit and reduce costs. This also helps employees because robots can perform repetitive, difficult and dangerous tasks.

Humans are interesting beings. Through history that I have observed, I can see that they are obsessed with understanding their own nature, their strengths and their weaknesses. Their paintings, music, movies and books have continuous references to beings like humans with consciousness of their existence and the ability to reason: from the study of apes to autonomous machines.

Then, it is no surprise that the most famous robots after the robotic arms are the humanoids and dog robots.

The first humanoide robot, like the ones we imagine today, was created by Joseph Barnett on 1939. It was called Elektro. It was 6.56 feet tall and it was covered in aluminum. It was able to perform 26 different movements and it could talk because it had the recordings of 700 words. After Elektro’s success, Barnett created Sparko: a robotic dog. Spark could bark and seat on its back legs. It also obey simple orders.

I have been on this beautiful blue planet just a few years and I have been able to find several different types of machines, droids and robots. In the last 50 years, the technology, particularly the controls and programming, have allowed to created beings increasingly autonomous. Later on we can talk about the robotics laws.

Today I just wanted to give you a short summary of the origin of the word robot and talk about two robotic celebrities. What would you add to this summary?

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