Back to the Future

For 19th-century Americans, robots were practical Christians, potential spouses, and a serious threat to labor power.

A Czech playwright coined the term “robot” in 1920, and Ford executives began popularizing the concept of automation in 1947. Yet decades earlier, 19th-century Americans already anticipated a time when machines would outcompete humans&nbps;— workers with dread, and capitalists with glee.

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