A civil servant robot working at the Gumi City Council in South Korea has committed suicide.

The robot was found by municipal staff at the bottom of the stairs between the first and second floors at around 16:00. It had deliberately thrown itself down a 2-meter-long staircase.

According to reports, this is the first robot suicide ever documented. Before that, there was another report of a robot named Steve committing suicide by drowning in a fountain in Washington.

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However, it was later determined that this was an accident caused by "a loose brick slipping off a surface".

WHY DID THE ROBOT COMMIT SUICIDE?

The robot was designed by a California-based startup called Bear Robotics. He was appointed in October 2023 (the first robot appointed by the Gumi City Council) and received the nickname Robot Supervisor.

Just like any other "human" employee, he worked a 9-4 shift and even had his own employee card.

His job was to help deliver documents, information and city promotions, and according to the staff, he was really skilled at what he did. They really thought of the robot as one of their own. 

It is worth noting, however, that this was unlikely to be an accident; unlike other robots in service, the Robot Supervisor was used to traveling between floors by elevator.

At the end of the day, the robot was a complex machine, it could have been an internal malfunction that caused it to roll down the stairs.

WILL THEY REPLACE THE ROBOT?

Given that South Korea is one of the few countries that actively assigns robots in different industries, it is possible that they will replace the robot in the future. However, the Gumi City Council decided not to replace the robot immediately.

According to a report by the International Federation of Robotics, South Korea has one robot worker for every ten regular "human" workers.

Editor: David Goodman