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    Robot “Death” in South Korea Raises Questions About Machine Stress

    A South Korean council robot's "death" sparks debate on robot stress and ethics in automation, highlighting unforeseen challenges in robotic integration.

    Robots are now feeling the strain of work as well. You read that correctly. The Gumi City Council in South Korea declared on June 26 that the robot serving as its top administrative officer had allegedly fallen “dead” after losing six and a half feet down a flight of stairs.

    Mysterious Circumstances Surrounding Robot’s Fall

    According to the French publication Agence France-Presse, the local council is wondering if the now-defunct robot committed suicide after witnessing it “circling in one spot as if something was there” before the alleged catastrophe. The robot that could autonomously go between levels by triggering an elevator was chosen as an August 2023 municipal council officer.

    An inquiry is being conducted to ascertain the “death” of the “depressed” robot.
    Still unanswered: Why did the cyborg do that? Authorities in Gumi City have announced that an investigation into the death of the allegedly “depressed” robot will begin right away. “The company has collected the pieces and will be analyzing them.”

    Robotics in Municipal Roles: A Double-Edged Sword

    This one-of-a-kind robot was the first to be appointed as a city council official. It was created by California-based business Bear Robotics, well known for its line of restaurant-serving robots. It “helped with daily document deliveries, city promotion, and delivered information,” an official stated. The Cyborg had a civil service officer card and worked regular hours, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., just like any other employee.

    The robot was described as a “diligent” worker by another officer. The Gumi City Council is not currently thinking about hiring another robot policeman. Robotics technology is widely adopted in South Korea. The nation boasts the highest robot density in the world, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

    Investigating the Possibility of Robot “Suicide”

    Several headlines are already discussing the extraordinary event as dystopia takes on mind-boggling reality and speculates as to whether the cyborg committed suicide as a result of experiencing “work stress.” The concept is a long way from the 2004 science fiction action movie I, Robot, starring Will Smith, in which a sophisticated robot engages in the human practice of “dreaming.”

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