NewsRobot scandal: AI assistant found shattered in South Korea council

Robot scandal: AI assistant found shattered in South Korea council

A robot clerk committed "suicide"? It shattered into small pieces.
A robot clerk committed "suicide"? It shattered into small pieces.
Images source: © X, Pexels
Bartłomiej Nowak

29 June 2024 19:16

"Robot Supervisor" was smashed on the staircase between floors of the city council building in Gumi, South Korea. An investigation will determine whether the overworked, AI-equipped machine decided to self-destruct. If so, it would be unprecedented.

In one of the offices in South Korea, officials were aided by a robot. The robot carried documents and provided essential information to visitors. It could also move between floors independently using the elevator.

On Thursday, "Robot Supervisor" was found smashed on the staircase between the first and second floors of the building. Speculation immediately arose online about whether its algorithm had suggested that the best option was... disintegration.

He was one of us. He worked diligently - said an official of the Gumi city council to local media in South Korea.

"Suicide" of a civil servant robot in South Korea

Bear Robotics, a Californian startup specialising in waiter robots, manufactured the robot. It worked from 08:00 to 17:00 GMT and had its own civil service card. The robot started working at the office in August 2023. It was one of the prototypes used to assist the city council.

According to its "colleagues," shortly before its remains were found, the robot had been "behaving strangely" - spinning around aimlessly. Officials have proposed employing a new robot to replace the malfunctioning "Robot Supervisor" on hold.

South Korea is enthusiastic about introducing robots to assist people in their daily work. According to the International Federation of Robotics, there is one robot for every ten employees in the country. No other country can boast such advanced robotics and mechanisation in offices and other critical areas of life.

This is not the first robot "suicide" - the first case in the USA

This is not the first instance of a robot malfunction. In the United States in 2017, a very similar case was recorded. Robot Steve, who was assigned to "identify potential threats," hit a one-year-old child and left the scene. It was later found drowned in a city fountain. The manufacturer, Knightscope, stated that the robot "slipped" on a loose tile. Social media users mocked the futuristic promises.

Our D.C. office building got a security robot. It drowned itself. We were promised flying cars. Instead, we got suicidal robots - wrote a user on the X platform.
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