Monday, June 4, 2007

Part-Time Robot (1923)

The August 7, 1923 Oxnard Daily Courier (Oxnard, California) ran a story titled "Shaw Wants To Be Robot, Part Time." Below is the article in its entirety.

George Bernard Shaw would like to be a "Robot" - a machine man - for about two hours a day.

"I want to find my own happiness," Shaw says. "What we should all be aiming at is a distribution of the slavery of nature. Let me be a 'Robot' for two hours a day, but for the rest of the day let me be Bernard Shaw. For those two hours of ..'Robotism' give me a mechanical job so that while I am turning the wheel I can think about the next play I am going to write. People who have nothing more to do than to think about their own happiness are completely miserable. Men engaged in mechanical occupations keep their minds in virginal innocence."

See also:
Henry Ford's Machine Men (1924)
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
Robots: The World of the Future (1979)
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)
The Robot is a Terrible Creature (1922)


Anonymous said...

I love this blog generally, but I think this entry's a bit off -- I don't think he literally meant he wanted to be a robot. I think he meant that he relished having a couple hours a day of what we'd call "mindless work" so that he could let his mind wander.

Matt Novak said...

You're right that he didn't mean it literally but I think it's worthwhile to explore the evolution of language. The word robot had just been invented and to see how people were using it seems like a worthwhile endeavor when studying the paleo-future.

Thanks for reading.

Rei said...

Being a creative person, I can definitely identify with the sentiment. I never wrote better short stories than I did when I spent a summer doing nothing but feeding sheets into a mangler at a laundry. I certainly felt like a robot, but it left my mind free to wander!