“A race of human machines”

in Reproduction by Design

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780226560694
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226560717 | DOI:
“A race of human machines”

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This chapter addresses the threat of mechanical men that were transparently eugenic in nature. The main drive of this chapter is that fears of mechanized men were driven by more than concerns about technology. The word “robot” seemed to crystallize concerns about the relationship between humans and machines. Robots could be easily imagined serving the forces of order. The word “robot” also entered the political vocabulary. “Robot” was originally a Slavic term for forced labor. Robot stories and eugenic accounts stressed the promises and threats posed by modernity. They argued that the harnessing of science and industry could result in unparalleled progress, but if not directed by an enlightened elite with the interests of the race at heart, the unleashed forces of rationalization would have disastrous consequences.

Keywords: mechanical men; robots; technology; humans; machines; eugenic; modernity; rationalization

Chapter.  9664 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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