Friday, 22 November 2013

Do Robot's Dream Of Suicide?

An interesting, if small story caught my eye. There are some wags who believe that we have had the first ever recorded robotic suicide ....

The prompt for this story is that a robotic cleaner (one of those round ones that circle the floor) was found burned out .... nothing unusual in that one might think, maybe a burnt fuse. But the story has some unusual aspects that raised it to a story that was reported around the world.

Apparently the cleaning device was left alone in a house in Austria and was 'cleaning' when somehow it managed to climb on to a kitchen hotplate, where it 'burnt to death'. The owners are insistent that the hotplate was turned off, and have no idea how

(a) The robot got on top of the hotplate, and
(b) how a 'cold' hotplate managed to burn a cleaning robot.

Crime Scene or Grave Plot?

The comics are insisting that the robot, bored to death by the prospect of a life of cleaning for evermore, had used its limited A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), to get on to the cooker and turn on the hotplate. The Austrian owners are planning to sue the makers of the robot after the smoke damage to the house left them temporarily homeless.

Asimov's Three Laws Of Robotics

Isaac Asimov will be laughing in his grave right now ...... it even sticks within the first two of Asimov's "Three Laws Of Robotics", but the naughty cleaner broke the third. However there is a serious note to this because one day we may well use A.I. robots to make inter-stellar explorations on our behalf .... and whose to say that these journeys, taking decades or even centuries, won't drive these intelligent robots insane?

Would we then be morally right to send them on these trips?


  1. All good questions. I enjoyed the books and more recently the film I,Robot, in which the robot was asked by a human if it could paint or compose a masterpiece to which the robot said "No, can you?"
    As for the robot suicides, perhaps we should be looking at bored crop circlers or branching-out gnome kidnappers?
    ...or disgruntled ex-housemaids?

    1. bored crop circler's or branching-out gnome kidnappers? ...or disgruntled ex-housemaids .... kinda the new 'Luddites' for the 21st century eh?

    2. and those housemaids probably still have a key for the home.
      Speaking of Luddites, the word saboteur comes from the French for clogs which they would throw into the machinery which was depriving them of their livelihood.

  2. What a fantastic picture! Those illustrators from the 40's and 50's were brilliant.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Can't disagree with you.


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