Friday, 15 September 2017

Writing - Old news

When we produce our stories the sources of inspiration are often wide and varied. The first example is definitely one that could be the inspiration for a short story.

Image result for UK burglary 1907

In September 1907 a family from Pollockshields in Glasgow shut up their house to go and reside on the coast. The police were keeping an eye on the property to ensure all was well. On one visit a constable discovered a broken window and called his sergeant for back-up. They entered the property to discover two burglars in the billiard room surrounded by several empty champagne bottles and hopelessly drunk. One man was singing Annie Laurie, the other began singing Down the Valley where the Lilies Grow, to greet the officers arrival. A police van had to be called to move the burglars and it was dinner time before they had sobered up.

The second example is much more futuristic and yet stemmed from writings as far back as 1920.

Image result for robbie the robot
Robbie the Robot

The first occurrence of the word robot was in Karel Capek's Czech play RUR (Rossum's Universal Robots). It is derived from the Czech 'robota' which means forced labour.
Then there were Azimov's three laws of robotics - to recap,

1. A robot may not injure a human or allow a human to come to harm
2. A robot must obey human orders unless this conflicts with law 1.
3. A robot must protect its own existence unless this conflicts with laws 1 and 2.

Those laws have appeared in a number of films since their creation including I,Robot.

Real robots took a little longer to appear - the 1950's. George Devol from Louisville, Kentucky created a programmable robotic arm.

Robots imitating humans weren't around for another 10 years. In 1961 Shakey was built, could manoeuvre in unfamiliar surroundings and respond to his environment in a limited way. In 1970 Life magazine dubbed him the first electronic person.

God Bless