S Korean robot ‘commits suicide’ after mysteriously ‘circling in one spot’
SEOUL: (Web Desk) A civil servant robot working for a council in South Korea was found unresponsive after apparently throwing itself down a flight of stairs.

 The local people are now mourning the country’s first robot suicide as the incident has also raised concerns about the workload and well-being of robots in the workforce and ignited a broader conversation about the ethical treatment of AI.

The ‘Robot Supervisor’ was found smashed up lying in the stairwell between the first and second floors of the council building, Gumi City said, with pictures showing the scene of the accident.

Witnesses saw the officer mysteriously ‘circling in one spot as if something was there’ before it occurred, but the exact cause of the fall is still being investigated, as per a city council official.

“Pieces have been collected and will be analysed by the company,” the official said. The official added that the robot had  helped with daily document deliveries, city promotion, and delivered information  to local residents.

The incident has sparked a wave of mourning and curiosity across the nation. Local media headlines questioned the apparent “robot suicide,” asking, “Why did the diligent civil officer do it?” and “Was work too hard for the robot?”

Social media has also been abuzz with reactions ranging from poignant tributes to the fallen robot to serious discussions about the ethical implications of AI sentience and the potential for robot suffering.

Talking about its quality, the robot was unique in its ability to call an elevator and move between floors autonomously. It reportedly worked from 9 AM. to 6 PM and even had its own civil service officer card.

Notably, South Korea is a global leader in robotics adoption, and it boasts the highest robot density in the world. With one industrial robot for every ten employees, the nation has embraced automation in various sectors, from manufacturing to public service.

However, this incident raises critical questions about the ethical implications of such widespread robotic integration, especially in roles traditionally occupied by humans.

Meanwhile, in response to the incident, Gumi City Council has announced that it has no plans to adopt a second robot officer at this time.