Science fiction robots have generally been servants to humans, quite often performing highly personal services. In the real world, however, robots have, since the beginning, been industrial robots. They have taken the place of human workers in hot, hazardous or boring factory tasks. The International Symposium on Industrial Robots had its eighteenth annual outing in 1988. The state of the art in the late 50s and early 60s set the scene for the kinds of activities that were technically feasible, hence the adjective “industrial”. Industrial robotics is a sub-class of automation, bringing flexibility to automated manufacturing.
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