Robots, the definition from Webster s Dictionary, is an automatic device that performs functions normally ascribed to humans or a machine form of a human. Robots and robotics are growing fields that have progressed since the 1940 s. The first use of the word 'robot' was made by the acclaimed Czech playwright Karel Capek, from the Czech word for forced labor or serf. The use of the word Robot was introduced into his play Rossum's Universal Robots which opened in January of 1921. In Rossum's Universal Robots, Capek poses a paradise where the machines initially bring so many benefits but in the end bring an equal amount of blight, in the form of unemployment and social unrest. The word 'robotics' was first used in Runaround, a short story published in 1942 by Isaac Asimov.

One of the first robots Asimov wrote about was a robo therapist, a modern counterpart to Asimov's fictional character is Eliza. Eliza was born in 1966 by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor, Joseph Weizenbaum, who wrote Eliza, a computer program for the study of natural language communication between man and machine. She was initially programmed with 240 lines of code to simulate a psychotherapist by answering questions with questions. Isaac Asimov had four laws that he thought all robots should go by: Law Zeroth: A robot may not injure humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm. Law One: A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, unless this would violate a higher order law. Law Two: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with a higher order law.

Law Three: A robot must protect its own existence as long as suc protection does not conflict with a higher order law. Some of the first actually Robots date into the 1940 s. This robot was done by Grey Walter and called Machina Spectulatrix. People called it the turtlebot for short. His robot was just recently restored to a working state. The turtlebot s are three-wheeling, light-seeking creatures.

A photoelectric cell was mounted on the steering column with a front wheel attached. The turtles were propelled by two small electric motors, to roam in any direction with sensor contacts to avoid obstacles. The turtles searched and aimed towards the light, but when the light intensity became too bright they retreated to their hutches to recharge. Its a very basic robot but Walter was ahead of his time doing the Robot. In 1956, a meeting occurred between George C. Devol and Joseph F.

Engelberger. The two met over cocktails to discuss the writings of Isaac Asimov. The result of this historic meeting was that Devol and Engelberger, created a working robot nicknamed the 'Unimate'. The first Unimate was installed at a General Motors plant, where it worked with the heated die-casting machines. Engelberger started a manufacturing company called 'Unimation' which stood for Universal Automation, the first commercial company to produce robots. Devol wrote the necessary patents.

Unimation is still in production today, with robots for sale. All robots that work and do things are run by programs. Most of the programs being made are trying to emulate programs that let the robot have AI. AI stands for artificial intelligence.

Back in 1637 a French philosopher-mathematician Rene Descartes predicted that it would never be impossible to make a thing that had AI. In 1950 the British mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing declared that one day there would be a machine that could duplicate the thoughts of a human being. This would be done by passing a specialized test, this test will be done by a computer and a human hidden from view would be asked random identical questions. If the computer were successful, the questioner would be unable to distinguish the machine from the person by the answers. Inspired by Turing s Theory, the first conference on AI convened at Dartmouth College in N. H.

in 1956. Soon afterwards, an AI laboratory was started at Massachusetts Institute of Technology by John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky, two of the nation s leading AI researchers. McCarthy also invented the AI computer Language, Lisp; but by the early 1990 s AI itself had not been achieved. However, logic programs called expert systems allow computers to make decisions by interpreting data and selecting from among alternatives.

Technicians can run programs used in complex medical diagnostics, language translation, mineral exploration and even computer design. Machinery can outperform humans physically, as well as mentally. The fastest computer is able to calculate roughly 10 billion calculations per second. In order to achieve the same track as the mind, computers have been made with several processors to follow calculations at the same time. Critics say that this does not involve understanding, something that a human would have. This would be theoretically impossible and involve learning the material.

Some experts have suggested that computers should be modeled after the human brain, which essentially consists of a network of nerve cells. The research of AI has progressed so much that some computers can preform complicated- though extremely specialized- tasks. For example, artificial intelligence systems have been produced that can diagnose diseases and locate minerals in the Earth. Such systems are often called Expert systems.

They require vasts amount of knowlege or information in the computer to provide for the basis of the computers thinking ability. To diagnose a disease a computer needs to be programed with knowledge of thousands symptoms and how these symtoms relate to hundreds of diseases. Programs have also been developed that enable computers to comprehend commands in a natural language-e. g.

, ordinary English. The software systems of this type that have been produced so far are limited in their vocabulary and knowledge to specific, narrowly defined subject areas. They contain large amounts of information about the meaning of words pertaining to that subject, as well as information about grammatical rules and common violations of those rules. Major and continuing advances in computer processing speeds and memory sizes have facilitated the development of AI programs. Although most AI programs attempting to simulate higher mental functions incorporate the bottleneck of limited short-term memory, which restricts humans to carrying out one or a few mental tasks at a time, many investigators have begun to explore how the intelligence of computer programs can be enhanced by incorporating parallel processing-e.

x. , the simultaneous execution of several separate operations by means of computer memories that allow many processes to be carried out at once. The question of which portions of the human brain operate serially and which operate in parallel has been a topic of intense debate by researchers in both the cognitive sciences and AI, but no clear verdict had been reached by the mid-1990 s. The largest computer memories now contain elementary circuits that are comparable in number to the synaptic connections (about 10 trillion) in the human brain, and they operate at speeds (billions of operations per second) that are far faster than elementary neural speeds. The challenge driving AI research is to understand how computers' capabilities must be organized in order to reproduce the many kinds of mental activity that are comprised by the term "thinking." AI research has thus focused on understanding the mechanisms involved in human mental tasks and on designing software that performs similarly, starting with relatively simple ones and continually progressing to levels of greater complexity..