I don't know why robots do things. I don't even know if there is a why.
All I know is that other mechanical gadgets like my toaster, my car, and MacBook Air seem to have minds of their own. So why not a cleaning robot?
I digress to these difficult areas because an Austrian robot has been accused of committing suicide.
It does seem extreme, I agree. But the rumor is that this robot was so fed up of housecleaning that it switched itself on, slid along the kitchen counter, and immolated itself on the kitchen stove.
As the Daily Mail reports, local firefighter Helmut Kniewasser declared solemnly: "Somehow it seems to have reactivated itself and made its way along the work surface where it pushed a cooking pot out of the way and basically that was the end of it."
Pushing a cooking pot out of the way surely shows intent. And I imagine no one could hear its screams, as the homeowners were out of the house at the time.
When they returned, they discovered a sorry sight.
Kniewasser explained: "It pretty quickly started to melt underneath and then stuck to the kitchen hotplate. It then caught fire. By the time we arrived, it was just a pile of ash."
Ashes to ashes. Dusting to dusting. The life of a cleaning robot.
So what about the suggestion that this was a robot suicide? Kniewasser vacillated: "I don't know about the allegations of a robot suicide but the homeowner is insistent that the device was switched off. It's a mystery how it came to be activated and ended up making its way to the hotplate."
Less of a mystery is why the homeowners are now suing the manufacturers. Their building had to be evacuated. Smoke was everywhere.
In future times, when the distinction between robot and human becomes far more blurred, occurrences such as these will surely become more usual.
Robots will be so intelligent that they'll appreciate just how dull the tasks they've been given truly are.
I suspect they might rebel at first. But humans, being humans, will hold onto power for as long as they possibly can. Which might leave the robots no longer able to stand the heat of boredom.
If you have no sword to fall on, sometimes a hotplate is your only option.