From Industrial to Service Robots, an Important Paradigm Shift
After their breakthrough in science fiction literature, robots were first used as assistants to mankind under the form of industrial robots. From the nineteen-sixties on, they replaced humans for the execution of repetitive slavery tasks in industry. Typical examples of this first robot wave were the spot welding lines, universally used in the automotive industry in the seventies, and the loading and unloading of die casting machines. Spot welding robots were the incarnation of the concept brought to mind by the word ‘robot’, of Slavic origin and meaning ‘slavery work’. Intelligence of any kind was not present in those machines. In those early times a robot was defined as a freely programmable machine with multiple degrees of freedom, able to manipulate objects. There are more machines, however, that are more or less freely programmable, without giving the impression that they are showing intelligent behaviour.