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" I think that computers today allow us one last opportunity to provide something like a level playingfield in America."
- William Gibson

Spinning Mill for Veins (Artificial Organs)  
  The manufacture of artificial organs, digestive tract, veins - body parts.  

This is probably the earliest description in science fiction of the idea that human organs can be manufactured or created artificially.

The Robots don't know when to stop working. At two o'clock I'll show you the kneading troughs.

H: What kneading troughs?

D: The mixing vats for the batter. In each one we mix enough batter for a thousand Robots at a time. Next come the vats for livers, brains, etcetera. Then you'll see the bone factory, and after that I'll show you the spinning mill.

H:What spinning mill?

D: The spinning mill for nerves. The spinning mill for veins. The spinning mill where miles and miles of digestive tract are made at once. Then there's the assembly plant where all of this is put together, you know, like automobiles. Each worker is responsible for affixing one part, and then it automatically moves on to a second worker, then to a third, and so on. It's a most fascinating spectacle. Next comes the drying kiln and the stock room where the brand new products are put to work.

H: Good heavens, they have to work immediately?

D: Sorry. They work the same way new furniture works. They get broken in. Somehow they heal up internally or something. Even a lot that's new grows up inside them. You understand, we must leave a bit of room for natural development. And in the meantime the products are refined.

H: How do you mean?

D: Well, it's the same as "school" for people. They learn to speak, write, and do arithmetic. They have a phenomenal memory. If one read them the Encyclopedia Britannica they could repeat everything back in order, but they never think up anything original. They'd make fine university professors. Next they are sorted by grade and distributed. Fifty-thousand head a day, not counting the inevitable percentage of defective ones that are thrown into the stamping-mill ... etcetera, etcetera.

From R.U.R., by Karel Capek.
Published by Not Available in 1920
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