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"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

Robot Suicide  
  A robot decides to commit suicide, and sets up a mechanism to put his decision into effect.  

As far as I know, this is the first explicit mention of a robot suicide attempt.

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.

Now I was alive again, feeling the strong pulse of electrical current surging through me. And the acid lay spattered over the stone floor beyond, hissing and bubbling. Someone had knocked it away at the last second. And had reconnected a battery to my central distributor.

From Adam Link's Vengeance, by Eando Binder.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1940
Additional resources -

Fans of the science fiction film Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) recall that the Terminator states "I cannot self-terminate" when the time comes to destroy the advanced chip in his own brain.

Also, see this description of a self-aware computer suicide 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.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Adam Link's Vengeance
  More Ideas and Technology by Eando Binder
  Tech news articles related to Adam Link's Vengeance
  Tech news articles related to works by Eando Binder

Robot Suicide-related news articles:
  - First Robot Suicide Has Science Fiction Roots

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