In 1921, the Czech playwright, Karel Capek (pronounced ‘Cha-pek’) debuted a play called “R.U.R. Rossum’s Universal Robots”. And from that moment, the ‘robot’ was born. Of course, robot-like ideas have existed since the dawn of time—mechanical humanoids, biologically created replicants, divinely animated dolls—but the play and its post-WWI context crystallized these all into what we now know as a robot.
Yet, did it? Rossum’s robots are fully organic, not mechanical. But it’s the latter idea which overtook the idea of “robot” almost immediately.