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Two years ago the Chrysler corporation completely gutted its Windsor Ontario car assembly plant and within six weeks had installed an entirely new factory inside the building It was a marvel of engineering When it came time to go to work a whole new work force marched onto the assembly line There on opening day was a crew of 150 industrial robots Industrial robots dont look anything like the androids from sci-fi books and movies They dont act like the evil Daleks or a fusspot C-3P0 If anything the industrial robots toiling on the Chrysler line resemble elegant swans or baby brontosauruses with their fat squat bodies long arched necks and small heads An industrial robot is essentially a long manipulator arm that holds tools such as welding guns or motorized screwdrivers or grippers for picking up objects The robots working at Chrysler and in numerous other modern factories are extremely adept at performing highly specialized tasks - one robot may spray paint car parts while another does spots welds while another pours radioactive chemicals Robots are ideal workers they never get bored and they work around the clock Whats even more important theyre flexible By altering its programming you can instruct a robot to take on different tasks This is largely what sets robots apart from other machines try as you might you cant make your washing machine do the dishes Although some critics complain that robots are stealing much-needed jobs away from people so far theyve been given only the dreariest dirtiest most soul-destroying work The word robot is Slav in origin and is related to the words for work and worker Robots first appeared in a play Rossums Universal Robots written in 1920 by the Czech playwright Karel Capek The play tells of an engineer who designs man-like machines that have no human weakness and become immensely popular However when the robots are used for war they rebel against their human
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