The word “robot” first appears in Karel Capek’s 1921 play R.U.R., or Rossum’s Universal Robots. It derives from an old Church Slavonic word, rabota, meaning “servitude” and the Czech robotiti meaning “drudgery” and robtnik meaning “forced labor. Matt Simon had a good guide to robots last year in Wired.
The first industrial robot was Unimate. It joined the assembly line at a GM plant in Ewing Township, New Jersey, in 1961