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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The term “robot” was first coined in 1920 the Czech play Rossum's Universal Robots by Karl Capek. The term was based on a Czech word for a drudge or slave labourer and referred to machines that were quasi-human and used to replace humans for certain types of labour. Robots became a staple of science fiction novels. American science fiction and popular science author Isaac Asimov influenced the fictional portrait of robots in several influential novels and invented the term robotics.

Now robots refer both to machines that do highly automated types of work with minimal human intervention (common in many factories in reality) and highly advanced human-like machines (still only found in science fiction).