a. OED definition: robot [Czech, f. robota forced labour; used by Karel Capek (1890-1938) in his play R.U.R. (`Rossum's Universal Robots') (1920).] 1. a. One of the mechanical men and women in Capek's play; hence, a machine (sometimes resembling a human being in appearance) designed to function in place of a living agent, esp. one which carries out a variety of tasks automatically or with a minimum of external impulse. b. A person whose work or activities are entirely mechanical; an automaton.

b. another definition: a mechanization created in the image of a human


the development of the idea of the robot diachronically and asynchronically in the genres of literature, television and film


designed, programmed and created by humans

anthropomorphic, human-mimicking life-forms

"in" as opposed to "as"

Western popular media

did not evolve independently or separately from

current research and advancements



The usage of the word "robot" throughout this website encompasses a broad range of artificial beings: from what technically could be called "androids" for their physical human form to non-thinking "real" robots who are programmed to perform menial tasks to artificial intelligences that can think complexly like humans but are otherwise known as "computers." But, despite their different names and functions, all the robots studied in this site share a certain--perhaps undefinable--quality that makes it possible to classify them under the same theme of "replicant" or "creations made in the image of a human being."



In order to approach this subject, we chose a set of questions that we decided would best discuss and present the many issues that would arise as we investigated the proliferation of robots throughout culture and technology.