A robot killed a factory worker at a Volkswagen plant in Germany, FT reports. The 21-year-old worker was installing the robot when it struck him in the chest, crushing him against a plate. He died after the incident.
Prosecutors have opened an investigation into the worker’s death, but the internet has already begun to call it the first robot homicide.
A Volkswagen spokesman said this was not a robot that would work side by side with humans, and that it was meant to live in a safety cage — which the deceased worker was inside of during the installation, according to the FT report.
Twitter users were quick to point out that the name of the FT reporter, Sarah O’Connor, is remarkably similar to Sarah Connor, hero of the “Terminator” franchise. She was not amused by the barrage of tweets about “Skynet” and reminded them of the serious nature of the situation and that someone had died.
The worker’s death comes at a time when some are questioning the safety of robots. The Future of Life Institute (FLI) , funded in part by a $US10 million donation from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, announced its plans to use $US7 million to fund various projects aimed at controlling artificial intelligence. One project wants to help keep AI-powered weapons under “meaningful human control.”
While the internet hysteria over this worker’s death is heavily comprised of dark comedy, many, such as Musk and Bill Gates, share concerns that the technology of robots is outstripping our regulation of them.
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