Monday, November 17, 2014

The Origin of the Word Robot

Honda debuts new humanoid robot ASIMO in 2000.

The word robot was a recent invention. It was coined by the artist Josef Čapek, the brother of famed Czechoslovakian author Karel Čapek. Karel was working on a play and was thinking of something that will mean “labor.” Josef suggested the word ‘roboti’, which gave rise to the English ‘robot’.  ‘Roboti’ derives from the Old Church Slavanic ‘rabota’, meaning ‘servitude’, which in turn comes from ‘rabu’, meaning ‘slave’. 

Kerel then introduced the word in a play called R.U.R.  The full title translating into English as Rossum’s Universal Robots, which debuted in January of 1921.