100 Years of the Word Robot – level 3

03-02-2021 07:00

The word ’robot’ was first used in a Czech-language science fiction play called ‘R.U.R.’ (‘Rossum’s Universal Robots’) by Karel Čapek in January 1921.

The word ’robot’ was formed from the Czech word ’robota’ which roughly translates as ’forced labor’. The play was about a factory that made artificial people who eventually overpowered the human race. Since then, the theme of robot revolt has had a huge impact on popular culture, and it inspired scripts for films such as ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Blade Runner’.

In the years Čapek’s play first premiered, various kinds of robots have been programmed to carry out all sorts of tasks. They can disinfect hospital floors, check in hotel guests, keep company, serve meals, encourage social distancing; and even provide entertainment.

Difficult words: revolt (a refusal to accept someone’s authority), script (the written text of a play or film), premiere (to give the first public performance).

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