Robotics

The field of computer science and engineering concerned with creating robots, devices that can move and react to sensory input. Robotics is one branch of artificial intelligence.

Robots are now widely used in factories to perform high-precision jobs such as welding and riveting. They are also used in special situations that would be dangerous for humans — for example, in cleaning toxic wastes or defusing bombs.

Although great advances have been made in the field of robotics during the last decade, robots are still not very useful in everyday life, as they are too clumsy to perform ordinary household chores.

Robot was coined by Czech playwright Karl Capek in his play R.U.R (Rossum’s Universal Robots), which opened in Prague in 1921. Robota is the Czech word for forced labor.

I, Robot

The term robotics was introduced by writer Isaac Asimov. In his science fiction book I, Robot,published in 1950, he presented three laws of robotics:

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 conflict with the First or Second Law.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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