It wasn't until the 20th
century that our modern idea of the robot really came on the scene.
But it didn't come from a scholarly treatise or from the writings of
H. G. Wells or even from the pages of Hugo Gernsback's magazines.
It came from the world of the stage with Karl Capek's 1921 play Rossum's Universal
Robots (RUR), which gave us some of the most appalling dialogue
and self-conscious preaching ever to blight any theatre this side of
Berlin. Oh, yes. it's also the origin of the word "robot,"
which is from the Czech word for "worker."