Capek’s 1920 play R. U. R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) was the first text to use the word ‘robot’ to denote man-made creatures – the word comes from the Czech roboti meaning ‘slave’ or ‘drudge’. In Capek’s play, the robots are built in a factory for the purpose of undertaking menial labour for their human masters – but, as with The Terminator over sixty years later, they eventually turn against their owners and destroy the human race.

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