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Nine hours of work and no rest: Overworked robot commits suicide

A robot administrative officer employed by the Gumi City Council in South Korea was discovered unresponsive after allegedly throwing itself down a flight of stairs, marking what is being referred to as the country’s first robot suicide case. This incident has left the local community in mourning.

The robot civil servant was found in pieces in the stairwell between the council building’s first and second floors. According to the council, the robot had fallen down a two-meter (six-and-a-half foot) staircase last month. Witnesses reported seeing the robot “circling in one spot as if something was there” before the fall. Authorities are currently investigating the exact cause of the incident, as reported by AFP.

The robot, responsible for daily document deliveries, city promotions, and providing information to residents, was collected by its manufacturing company for further analysis.

Local media has raised questions about the circumstances of the robot’s fall, with headlines such as “Why did the diligent civil officer do it?” and “Was the work too hard for the robot?”

The administrative officer robot, made by Californian startup Bear Robotics, was appointed in August last year and is one of the first to be used in this capacity in Gumi City. It worked from 9 AM to 6 PM and was capable of calling elevators and navigating to different floors autonomously.

Despite the incident, the Gumi City Council has announced that it does not plan to adopt a second robot officer. South Korea is known for its enthusiastic use of robots, with the highest robot density in the world. According to the International Federation of Robotics, South Korea has one industrial robot for every 10 employees.

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