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South Korean robot’s apparent ‘suicide’ now under investigation

In this post:

  • A robot working at Gumi City Council in South Korea slipped and sadly died after falling down the stairs.
  • The robot was responsible for delivering documents on a daily basis, advertising city projects, and assisting tourists.
  • The death of the robot has received different reactions from social networks.

A South Korean robot’s unexplained fall is under scrutiny by the Gumi City Council after the machine plunged down a two-meter staircase. The incident has generated debates on the use of robots and artificial intelligence in public service delivery.

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The robot was deployed as a city council officer in August 2023 and was capable of moving around buildings independently, including using elevators and changing floors. On the day of the incident, a council official saw the robot moving in circles as if there was something in front of it, and then it fell to the bottom of the stairs and broke. ‘

Local media speculates about overwork 

The council has taken apart the remains of the robot and sent it to its maker, Bear Robotics, a Californian-based company. The reason for the fall is still unknown; local media speculated if it was an accident or if overwork was the cause hence, some of the headlines include, “Why did the diligent civil officer do it?” and “Was work too hard for the cyborg?” 

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The robot was one of the first of its kind to be employed as part of a city council’s staff. Some of its functions were to deliver documents on a daily basis, to advertise city projects, and to assist tourists. It was active on a daily basis from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. without days off and even had an official identity card symbolizing its role within the council. This integration proved the capability of robots to deal with redundant tasks and allow human employees to focus on other activities. 

The Gumi City Council was both surprised and worried about the incident, taking into consideration the role of the robot in daily activities. The council stressed the need to establish what caused this failure so that a similar situation can be avoided in the future. 

South Korean robot's apparent 'suicide' under investigation
Source: Gumi City Council

The death of the robot has received different reactions from social networks. On the incident, many South Koreans have made light of it, saying things like “rest in peace, junk” and “overtime has its effects. ” Others have called it the ‘country’s first robot suicide,’ showing the people’s curiosity toward the incident. 

The incident highlights challenges in adopting advanced robotics

This event highlights the challenges and hazards of adopting sophisticated robotics into people’s daily lives. South Korea is one of the most advanced nations in the use of robotic technology, with one robot per ten workers in some industries. This case reveals that more effective safety measures should be in place and that more extensive testing should be conducted on self-governing technologies. 

Also Read: ChatGPT outperforms humans in joke telling, study shows

The rise in robotics and AI continues to accelerate. Recently, in Japan, scientists have come up with a way to graft engineered skin tissue to a humanoid robot in a bid to make the robots more life-like when it comes to dealing with human beings. Furthermore, researchers are developing robots that can recognize and display emotions in an attempt to enhance the relationship between humans and robots.

Up to the time of this report, Bear Robotics has not made a statement concerning the incident. The results of the investigation will be critical in identifying any structural or functional issues that may have led to the robot’s failure. These findings could help shape the next generation of robots and their use in the field of public administration. 


Cryptopolitan reporting by Brenda Kanana

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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