HitchBOT was supposed to show us that human kindness really does know no bounds, it was supposed to travel the world highlighting each country’s best traits.
Instead it ended up decapitated and in pieces on the side of a street in Philadelphia.
Created in Port Credit, Ontario, HitchBOT was the result of a collaboration between Dr. David Smith and Dr. Frauke Zeller.
Dr Smith originally came up with the idea of a robot hitchhiking across the world with the aim of studying the interaction that would then follow between a robot and the public with little to outside help.
Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends. I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots! My trip must come to an end for now, but my love for humans will never fade. Thank you to all my friends: http://goo.gl/rRTSW2
A photo posted by @hitchbot on Aug 1, 2015 at 2:45pm PDT
Simply put, he wanted to throw a robot in at the social deep end and see how humanity would react. Would we help it find its owner? Give it a lift as far as we could manage or resent its existence.
- Robots Could Eliminate 11 Million UK Jobs By 2034
- Robot Apocalypse Greatly Overstated As DARPA 2015’s Robots Struggle To Stand
- Stephen Hawking: Robots Will Be Our Masters In 100 Years
- Robot Passes Self-Awareness Test, World Stops Making Sense
In many ways Dr. Smith saw every variation of this, HitchBOT made it across Canada, the Netherlands and much of the East coast of the USA.
Sadly it was not a journey that was fated with a happy ending however, and as CBC journalist Lauren O’Neil discovered, sometimes bad things happen to good robots.
Canada’s hitchhiking robot lasts just two weeks in US before getting decapitated. http://t.co/802FBRUMho #smh pic.twitter.com/0bJexW3igk
— Lauren O’Neil (@laurenonizzle) August 2, 2015