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Does this footage show the mutilation of Hitchbot? (Um, no)

Technically Incorrect: Alleged surveillance camera video emerges that claims to show what really happened to the hitchhiking robot cut down in its prime in Philadelphia. It's surely fake.

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Real or fake? KRFilms/YouTube screenshot by CNET

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


As a symbol of our times, Hitchbot does very nicely.

We fear robots will take us over, chew us up and spit us out. At the same time, here is this loving piece of metal who just wanted to take a trip and commune with man. Can co-existence be possible?

He managed it in Germany, Holland and Canada, hitchhiking accompanied only by the beneficence of man.

But they're different in Philadelphia, where brotherly love is infected with the affectionless assault upon Santa Claus.

As many ambassadors of goodwill before him, Hitchbot was maimed in Philadelphia. He was dismembered, his limbs scattered like burrito wrappers.

Now footage has emerged that purports to show his last moments. CBC in Canada offered this breathless headline about the headless robot: "HitchBOT's demise thought to be captured in surveillance footage."

You must decide if it's genuine. Oh, of course it isn't.

It was sent to CBC by YouTube prankster Jesse Wellens. Wellens is based in Philadelphia.

Wellens posted a YouTube video on Saturday that shows him and fellow wag Ed Bassmaster meeting Hitchbot (around 7:50) and looking for people who might take it to DC. They loaded the robot into the back of a truck. They found a cab driver who wanted $350 to drive Hitchbot to DC. Eventually, they decide -- or so they say in the video -- to leave Hitchbot on a street bench.

It was one of the last known sightings before news of the assault on Saturday morning was aired. Of course, if this assault was being investigated (which it isn't), my intense viewing of cop shows tells me that the police would want to talk to those who saw it last.

And then Wellens tweeted on Sunday: "I got the surveillance footage!!! @hitchBOT going thru it now!"

The footage is now all over YouTube. It shows a young man in a number 12 Philadelphia Eagles jersey -- what would Randall Cunningham have to say about this? -- walking over to the obscured, though presumed, robot.

He makes one pass, returns and then begins his heinous act of dismemberment.

But is this footage just one more prank? Oh, does it look real to you? Seriously?

Fox Philly reporter Dave Kinchen isn't convinced. He says he went to site of Hitchbot's demise and could see no surveillance camera that could have possibly captured this footage.

Indeed, there's something terribly convenient about the way the footage is shot from an angle that obscures so much of the action. The whole thing looks remarkably false.

Hitchbot's creators say they want no retribution. I have contacted them to ask if they've seen the footage and if there is any hope for a Hitchbot resurrection. I will update, should I hear.

Perhaps there will be a new dawn for this most friendly of future creatures. NPR reports that some have already offered to revive it. There's already a Kickstarter campaign that's raised more than $4,000 to have it rebuilt.

You would have thought that Google could stump up a little money. With Hitchbot on its side, Google could prove that its blessed dream of robots taking over the world could at least enjoy a decent, even human image.

Meanwhile, the robokiller is still out there.