First Robot Suicide Has Science Fiction Roots

You may recall the distressing 2013 story about a family that returned home only to find their faithful family cleaning robot destroyed in an apparent suicide.


(Tragic aftermath of robot suicide)

A cleaning robot 'committed suicide' by climbing on to a kitchen hotplate where it was burned to death.

According to local reports, the Irobot Roomba 760 robot is thought to have rebelled against its chores and decided enough was enough.

Firemen were called to the blaze at Hinterstoder in Kirchdorf, Austria, and say they found the remains of the machine on the hotplate.

Fireman Helmut Kniewasser said: "The home-owner had put the small robot on the work surface to clean up some spilled cereal.

"Once the robot had done its job it was switched off but left on the kitchen sideboard. The 44-year-old house owner together with his wife and son then left the house and were not home when the robot set off.

"Somehow it seems to have reactivated itself and made its way along the work surface where it pushed a cooking pot out of the way and basically that was the end of it."

"By the time we arrived, it was just a pile of ash."

In his remarkable 1940 short story Adam Link's Vengeance, Eando Binder explores the difficult area of robot suicide. The story opens with a robot returning to self-awareness after the attempt failed.

To any of you humans committing suicide, your last thought must be that death is after all so sweet and peaceful and desirable. Life is so cruel. And to be brought back from voluntary death at the last second must be a terribly painful experience.

So it was with me, though I am a robot.

My mind blinked back into consciousness. My mechanical brain was instantly alert. Full memory flooded back. What had happened to prevent my death? I had allowed my batteries to drain, and had lain myself flat to pass into oblivion with the last of the electrical energy. Over my head I had fixed a timed clockwork which would within an hour tip over a beaker of strong acid. I had removed my skullpiece so that the acid would bite deeply into my iridium-sponge brain and utterly destroy it...
(Read more about robot suicide)

Also, see this description of a suicidal self-aware computer from All the Troubles in the World (1958), by Isaac Asimov, the depressed robot Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979) by Douglas Adams and the deeply troubled robot cab driver from A Present for Pat (1952) by Philip K. Dick.

Via Mirror.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/5/2016)

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