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"We were essentially being shell-shocked by rapid change. That was one of the things you needed science-fiction writers for back in the Sixties, because we could cope with the future."
- Peter Watts

Sea Robot  
  An enormous robot able to function in the ocean.  

I don't know an earlier reference to a "sea robot"; it serves a rather clever function - recycling!

At the atomic furnaces Nogo received news that put him in a little better humor. Everything here was progressing splendidly. The work was ahead of schedule and the supply of steel was adequate. The Great Presence unbent sufficiently to congratulate the inventor who had secured the supply of steel for the Uighurs.

"A very great invention, your sea robot," Nogo said to the inventor, Lasar. Lasar was a squat, powerfully-built Mongol. As a reward for his invention, he had already been made a member of Nogo's personal staff. He glowed at his leader's praise.

"Thank you, Great Presence," Lasar said bowing. "Your Presence had often thought of the great supply of steel in sunken ships resting on the sea bottom. I was fortunate enough to devise a means of recovering it."

"A very clever solution," Nogo said. "A gigantic robot to walk on the bottom of the sea, enduring pressures no diver could stand, a robot strong enough to lift whole ships and to carry them ashore, a robot, moreover, with a mechanical mind to enable it to carry out its task without the need for constant supervision, yes, that was a very clever solution to our problem."

Technovelgy from The Metal Monster (Jarvis), by E.K. Jarvis.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1943
Additional resources -

The monster emerges from the sea!

Suddenly, from the direction of the sea, there came a shrill whistle. A few of the Uighur overseers and some of the slaves looked toward the sound. They had heard this whistle before. It came from the sea robot and it announced that this great monster was coming out of the ocean with another steel ship clutched in its mighty hands.

(The Sea Robot from 'The Metal Monster' by E.K. Jarvis)

Gradually the robot emerged from the water. It was holding a ship. Slowly, ponderously, it splashed toward the shore. It started toward the place where the wrecked ships were piled.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Metal Monster (Jarvis)
  More Ideas and Technology by E.K. Jarvis
  Tech news articles related to The Metal Monster (Jarvis)
  Tech news articles related to works by E.K. Jarvis

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