Administrative robot in South Korea "commits suicide"

A city council in South Korea has announced that its first robot administrative officer committed suicide after throwing itself down the stairs.

This is the first suicidal robot in the country.

The robot was found in a helpless state, after falling down a two-meter flight of stairs last week.

Witnesses saw the robot "circling in one spot as if there was something there" before the accident. The exact cause of the fall is still under investigation, a city council official told AFP.

"Pieces have been collected that will be analyzed by the company," the official said, adding that "the robot has been helping with daily document deliveries, promoting the city and delivering information" to residents.

"He was officially part of the town hall. One of us. He was working hard,” said another employee.

Local media headlines questioned the robot's alleged suicide, stating "Why did the diligent worker do it?" or asking "was the job too hard" for the robot?

Appointed in August 2023, the robot is one of the first to be used in this way in the city.

Built by Bear Robotics, a California-based robot-waiter startup, the robot worked from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and had its government employee card.

Unlike other robots that can usually only use one floor, the Gumi City Council robot could call an elevator and go up the floors by itself.

South Korea is one of the most enthusiastic users of robots globally.

It has the highest robot density in the world, with one industrial robot for every 10 employees, according to the International Federation of Robotics.

Gumi City Council currently has no plans to hire a second robot officer. | BGNES