Did a robot commit suicide in South Korea over 9 hours of work and no break?

In a surprising turn of events, a robot civil servant working for the Gumi City Council in South Korea has sparked a national debate after what many are calling the country’s first “robot suicide.”

The incident happened around 4 pm last Thursday, leaving the community both puzzled and mourning.

The robot, dubbed the ‘Robot Supervisor,’ was discovered in a heap at the bottom of a stairwell between the first and second floors of the council building. Witnesses described seeing the robot behaving strangely, “circling in one spot as if something was there,” before its untimely descent.

City council officials were quick to respond, stating that pieces of the shattered robot have been collected for analysis. The cause of the fall remains unclear, but the incident has prompted questions about the robot’s workload and its implications.

Employed since August 2023, this diligent mechanical helper was a jack-of-all-trades. From delivering documents and promoting the city to providing information to residents, the robot was a fixture in the city hall, complete with its own civil service officer card. The robot worked from 9 am to 6 pm, tirelessly moving between floors using elevators – a rare capability among its kind.

The robot was developed by Bear Robotics, a startup from California known for creating robot waiters. However, unlike its restaurant counterparts, the Gumi City Council robot had a much broader range of duties. It was part of a pioneering effort in South Korea, a country known for its high robot density – with one industrial robot for every ten employees, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

The robot’s sudden demise has stirred up a mix of emotions and opinions in local media and online forums. Some people are questioning whether the robot was overworked, while others wonder about the broader implications of integrating robots into everyday human tasks.

For now, the Gumi City Council has decided not to replace their fallen mechanical colleague. The tragic event has led to a pause in their robot adoption plans, reflecting a moment of reconsideration in a nation famous for its enthusiasm for automation.

So, was it really a “robot suicide” or just a tragic malfunction? While we may never fully understand the mechanical mind, one thing is certain – this incident has sparked an important conversation about the future of robots in our society

Source: India Today

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