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I decided to use the following description on the derivation of the term "robot", which was taken from an Issac book Gold, because what could be better than something by the father of robotics himself? Some words in parentheses have been left out to simplify the reading of these excerpts. - Terra

Excerpts from the essay entitled "The Robot Chronicles" by Issac Asimov[1]

No one used the word "robot", however, until 1920. In that year, a Czech playwright Karel Capek, wrote the play R.U.R, about an Englishman, Rossum, who manufactured artificial human beings in quantity. These were intended to do the arduous labour of the world so that real human beings could live lives of leisure and comfort. Capek called these artificial human beings "robots," which is a Czech word for "forced workers", or "slaves"...

..The play was produced in 1921 and was sufficiently popular to force the word " robot" into universal use. The name for an artificial human being is now "robot" in every language...Through the 1920s and 1930s, R.U.R helped reinforce the Frankenstein complex, and the hordes of clanking, murderous robots continued to be reproduced in story after story...I was an ardent science fiction reader in the 1930s and I became tired of the ever-repeated robot plot. I didn't see robots that way. I saw them as machines - advanced machines - but machines. They might be dangerous but surely safety factors would be built in...

...So, in 1939, at the age of nineteen, I determined to write a robot story about a robot that was wisely used, that was not dangerous, and that did the job it was supposed to do...

...I proceeded to write other stories along the same line — in consultation with my editor, John W. Campbell, Jr...

...Campbell urged me to make my ideas as to the robot safeguards explicit rather than implicit, and I did this in my fourth robot story, "Roundaround" [which] one of my characters says to another, "Now, look, let's start with the Three Fundamental Rules of Robotics." This, as it turned out, was the very first known use of the word "robotics" in print...

...The Three Fundamental Rules of Robotics" mentioned at this point eventually became known as "Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics," and here they are:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not coflict with the First or Second Law.

Appears in


  1. Asimov, Issac (1995). Gold: The Final Science Fiction Collection, New York: HarperPrism. ISBN 0-0610-5409-7.
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