An alumnus of the class of 1949 writes, "In the fall of 1949, I saw a performance by the MIT Dramashop of "Rossum's Universal Robots," in which robotic servants of the future
conclude that they are smarter and stronger than their human masters, and then revolt.
"Prof. Norbert Wiener began the prologue by noting that it was not surprising that the author, Karel Capek, was a Czech, because his country had been in the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. Noting the rise of automatic devices and computers in our society, Prof. Wiener warned, "Machines demand to be understood, or they will become our masters!" He warned against the danger of ever
more powerful computers, saying that if businesses were to use computers to plot their sales strategies, "It would be terrible! It would be like elephants fighting in the streets!"
"Near the end of his prologue, Prof. Wiener said, "And now I would like to show you one of these robots. Come here, Palomilla!," whereupon a young man emerged from the wings, shining a flashlight on a small experimental machine about 18 inches long, which scuttled toward him. It had a metal base, four wheels, a phototube at each front corner, motors, vacuum-tube circuitry and batteries.
"From this and other observations, I conclude that it is very difficult to predict the future and that the predictions of even a genius outside his field should be received with skepticism."