Automated robots build a 2015 Chrysler 200 automobile at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Mich., in March 2014. In South Africa, people who speak Afrikaans use the word "robot" to mean the same thing it means in English. But it is also the word for "traffic light." Why? Before automated signals, motorists on busy streets were directed by police officers standing on platforms. Those cops were automated out of a job.
This bit of trivia comes from the dazzling new book "Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World," by University of Illinois at […]