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Friday, July 12, 2024

First-Ever Robot Suicide Reported in South Korea

On June 26, South Korea’s Gumi City Council revealed that their top administrative officer robot was discovered ‘dead,’ having seemingly thrown itself down a six-and-a-half-foot flight of stairs.

The incident has left the local community mourning what is being referred to as the country’s first robot “suicide”, The Daily Mail reports.

Appointed to official duty in August 2023, the robot was one of the first to be used in this capacity in the city.

Developed by Bear Robotics, a Californian robot-waiter startup, the robot worked from 9 am to 6 pm and had its civil service officer card.

According to an official cited in the AFP, the first-of-its-kind robot “helped with daily document deliveries, city promotion, and delivered information.” Unlike other robots, which can typically only use one floor, the Gumi City Council robot could call an elevator and move floors on its own.

“It was officially a part of the city hall, one of us,” one official said. “It worked diligently.”

But on Thursday afternoon, the robot suffered a dramatic fall from the stairs, leading to its early demise. Witnesses of the incident say they saw the robot mysteriously “circling in one spot as if something was there” before the incident.

The ‘Robot Supervisor’ was also found smashed up lying in the stairwell between the first and second floors of the council building.

After the cyborg’s sudden death, the council community has been left in a state of shock and currently, it does not plan to adopt a second robot.

Headlines in local media questioned the apparent robot suicide, saying: “Why did the diligent civil officer do it?”

After the incident, the Gumi City Council said they would launch an investigation to find the cause of the supposedly “depressed” robot’s death.

“Pieces have been collected and will be analysed by the company,” the official was quoted as saying in the AFP report.

Using robots is not something new to South Korea, in fact, it has the highest robot density in the world and  employs one industrial robot for every 10 employees, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

But now, it seems even robots are succumbing to work stress. This incident has spotlighted the intense work pressure prevalent in South Korea. People have reacted to the news with mixed emotions, with one person questioning, “If the workload had been too much, would he have spun around for a long time and then rushed down the stairs?” while another commented, “I pray that scrap metal rests in peace.”

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Source: Firstpost

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