A robot at the 2016 China Hi-tech Fair has appeared to have broken Asimov’s laws of robotics by injuring a fairgoer. Some type of error occurred while a trade booth was exhibiting the robot’s features, and the robot ended up knocking over a glass display case onto a human fairgoer. According to China Daily, the man suffered lacerations to his leg and was taken to Peking University Shenzhen Hospital for stitches. Chinese netizens have already taken to popular microblog sites to declare this the “first salvo in the war against humanity.”
The accident took place at the booth of Spreadview Century, a Shenzhen-based technology research firm which builds robots for Beijing Evolver Robotics Technology. The booth was displaying the household robot “Xiaopang,” or “Little Fatty,” which sells for around $2000 USD and is designed mainly for entertainment and educational games for children.
Beijing Evolver issued a statement claiming responsibility and ensuring the public that this would be a one-time mistake:
Security is always our major concern and first priority. We carried out extensive experiments and big-data analysis before launching it in the market. Although it was an accident, we will improve our management of exhibition organizing companies in the future.
Little Fatty, meanwhile, has been unavailable for comment.
As robots continue to become more autonomous and begin to appear in more and more settings other than laboratories, it’s natural that mishaps will happen along the way. Earlier this year, Russian scientists were forced to chase down a rogue robot which escaped its research facility. Just a few months later, the same robot was spotted running loose at a political rally and arrested by police. Worldwide, autonomous robots have been going rogue and disobeying their human captors/creators, prompting many individuals to worry about some of the more disquieting developments in robotics and artificial intelligence.