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Rossum. Rossum was created by the Czech author Karel ńĆapek (Dr. Mejzlik) and appeared in the play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) (1920).

The American inventor Rossum is interested in creating human beings which are superior to homo sapiens. After years of experimentation, and with the help of his son, he finally succeeds, and creates the “robot,” a redesigned form of human which can be produced cheaply, has a lifespan of twenty years, and is without sex or soul. Rossum begins mass-producing his robots and shipping them around the world by the hundreds of thousands.

A decade later all the major countries have bought the robots and trained them to become soldiers, and now the robots are ready to displace humanity and take over the world, on the grounds that they are more efficient than humans. Only one man survives the robot holocaust, and the robots allow him to live because he works with his hands. He soon discovers that “male” and “female” robots are falling in love with each other, which means that the robots have become a new and better race than humanity ever was.

* I'm including R.U.R (Rossum's Universal Robots) in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because of the play's historical importance. R.U.R. didn't invent the concept of the robot--there were science fiction stories and novels with robots before R.U.R.--but the play did give the world the word "robot" as well as introduce, in a serious way, the issues of ethics which sentient slaves bring about,

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