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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Killer Robot  
  An autonomous robot made for the express purpose of killing living creatures.  

Very early use of this idea.

Countless wars had taken more from men than science had given them. X-120 and his kind were the culmination of this primal killer instinct.

In the haste of a war-pressed emergency man had not taken the time to refine his last creation, or to calculate its result. And with that misstep man had played his last card on the worn gaming table of earth. That built-in urge to kill men in yellow uniforms had changed, ever so slightly, to an urge to kill - men...

He lumbered forward. A few birds were stirring. Suddenly, almost at his feet, a rabbit darted from the bushes. X-120's long jointed arms swung swiftly. The tiny animal lay crushed upon the ground. Instinctively he stamped upon it, leaving only a bloody trace upon the new grass.

Then remorse and shame stole over him. He went on silently. Somehow the luster of the day had faded for him. He did not want to kill. Always he was ashamed, after the deed was done. And the age-old question went once more through the steel meshes of his mind: Why had he been made to kill?

From Rust, by Joseph E. Kelleam.
Published by Astounding Stories in 1939
Additional resources -

Here's another quote, from a portion of the story in which X-120 was attempting to repair and rebuild a living robot:

X-120 huddled against the far wall. "It is as I said," he moaned; "we can build nothing. We were not made to work at anything. We were made for one purpose, to kill." He looked at his sulky claws, and shook them as though he might cast them away...

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Rust
  More Ideas and Technology by Joseph E. Kelleam
  Tech news articles related to Rust
  Tech news articles related to works by Joseph E. Kelleam

Killer Robot-related news articles:
  - DARPA Seeks Self-Repairing Hunter-Killers?
  - Killer Robot COTSBot Stalks Starfish

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