Robot allegedly ends its own 'life' due to immense workload in Korea

Robot found unresponsive at Gumi City Council in South Korea, believed to have committed suicide, sparking concerns over AI reliability and workload stress.

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Recently, a robot employed by the Gumi City Council in South Korea was found unresponsive at the base of a two-meter staircase. This incident, which occurred around 4 p.m. on June 20, was reported by UK-based media. The robot, known as Robot Supervisor, was observed acting strangely and circling in one spot before it took its own life.

The robot was manufactured by the California-based company Bear Robotics, and city council officials promptly gathered and sent the broken pieces to the company for examination. However, the cause of the robot's unpredictable actions remains unknown.

The robot worked the same hours as humans, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and even had an employee card. Unlike most robots, which are confined to a single floor, this one was able to move between floors and even summon the elevator on its own.

A representative from the Gumi city administration stated that the robot was an official employee of the city hall and assisted with daily document deliveries, city promotion, and provided information to citizens. The local media ran headlines inquiring about whether the robot malfunction was related to its workload.

This robot supervisor, deployed in August of the previous year, was one of the first of its kind in the city. South Korea is said to have one of the highest robot densities in the world, with one industrial robot for every ten human employees, according to the International Federation of Robotics. The council responded that there is currently no plan to replace the designated robot supervisor.

Notably, a robot has died unexpectedly before. In 2017, a security robot stationed in Washington, DC, named Steve purportedly committed suicide by drowning in a fountain. Further investigation revealed that the robot had fallen into the water after skidding on a loose brick surface.