The term for any automatically operated machine replacing human effort, though it may not resemble human beings in appearance or perform functions in a human-like manner, namely robot is traced to a 1921 Science-fiction play Rossum’s Universal Robots by Czech writer and playwright Karel Capek (1890-1938). Borrowed from Czech robota (drudgery, servitude), the term, taken into English without change, is said to have been suggested to him by his brother. The interdisciplinary branch of Engineering and Science that includes Mechanical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Informational Engineering, Computer Science and others, is familiar to the world as robotics. Mark the words mentioned above, drudgery/servitude, the two features being cause of great distress or annoyance to the urbanites in particular nowadays. Robotics courses covering multiple Science, Mathematics and Technology disciplines are offered in Universities across the western world, with some institutions in India joining the elite centres of learning. The field of Automation has caught the fancy of the land’s youth catching up with their counterparts abroad.
Pursuing tasks that compel physical as well as mental toil and sweat, particularly in the fields and factories, in addition to the white-collared jobs, which marked the life of past generations doesn’t seem to find favour in the camps of both urbanites and rustics. That is origin of sowing the seeds of robotics taking birth and progressing with consequences hard to foresee now.
The volatile feature of share of agriculture, manufacturing sector and services as well as its drifting from the ideal, together reflect the challenge that successive Governments are facing. In addition, the current scenario of various outfits staging high-decibel demonstrations across the country for various causes, mostly marked by life’s difficulties bugging the land’s masses, portrayed through data-filled reports in media, is mind-boggling to the extent of shaking one’s confidence. In this context, one is prompted to raise the imperatives of keeping the masses engaged on economically productive activities both in the rural parts and urban spaces, in order to avoid frittering away man-hours in astronomical proportions.
Prescribing exclusively robotics in the face of mounting unemployment in the country may not sound sensible, while upholding the merits of this emerging tool. Mentors of the country’s workforce, if there are any, have their task cut out in convincing that the reign of robots doesn’t serve their cause in any way, given the inference by a research group that robots take away 20 million jobs globally in the next decade.