2 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2023
    1. R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots, drama in three acts by Karel Čapek, published in 1920 and performed in 1921. This cautionary play, for which Čapek invented the word robot (derived from the Czech word for forced labour), involves a scientist named Rossum who discovers the secret of creating humanlike machines. He establishes a factory to produce and distribute these mechanisms worldwide. Another scientist decides to make the robots more human, which he does by gradually adding such traits as the capacity to feel pain. Years later, the robots, who were created to serve humans, have come to dominate them completely.
  2. Dec 2019
    1. A new species would bless me as its creator and source

      The religious connotations of the passage connect Victor to the human project of playing God, much as Adam was said to be formed of clay. Historically, Jewish rabbis were also thought to have created golems from clay to seek revenge on enemies. However, following orders literally, the golems inevitably became destructive. Cautionary tales about technology and hubris were not only frequent in Shelley's time but have proliferated. In Karel Čapek's R.U.R (1920), for example, robots confound expectations by violently rebelling against their creators. Cadavers for anatomical training in this period were scarce, and thus a medical education meant to study and extend life also fostered serial killers who committed murders for the sake of selling fresh corpses. Such killing sprees were ended by the Anatomical Act of 1832 in England, which made corpses legally available for medical research.