INDUSTRY: R.U.R., 1952

In ten years Rossum's Universal Robots will produce so much corn, so much cloth, so much everything, that things will be practically without price. There will be no poverty. All work will be done by living machines . . .

When Karel Capek wrote these words in his 1920 play R.U.R., such a dream of effortless productivity seemed fantastic indeed. But this week, when Massachusetts Institute of Technology explained the operations of the first completely automatized milling machine, the idea no longer seemed quite so farfetched. Ranged beside the big milling machine, which looked like any other, were three formidable-looking...

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