Killer Robot Essay

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SILICON VALLEY PROGRAMMER INDICTED FOR MANSLAUGHTER. PROGRAM ERROR CAUSED DEATH OF ROBOT OPERATOR. DEVELOPMENT TEAM WORKED UNDER ENORMOUS STRESS. Exclusive to the SILICON VALLEY SENTINEL-OBSERVER Silicon Valley, USA Jane McMurdock, Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Silicon Valley, announced today the indictment of Randy Samuels on charges of manslaughter. Samuels was formerly employed as a programmer at Silicon Techtronics, Inc., one of Silicon Valley's newest entries into the high technology arena. The charge involves the death of Bart Matthews, who was killed last May by an assembly line robot. Matthews, who worked as a robot operator at Cybernetics, Inc., in Silicon Heights, was crushed to death when the robot he was operating malfunctioned and started to wave its "arm" violently. The robot arm struck Matthews, throwing him against a wall and crushing his skull. Matthews died almost instantly in a case which shocked and angered many in Silicon Valley. According to the indictment, Samuels wrote the module of the computer software which was responsible for the robot malfunction. "There's a smoking gun!" McMurdock announced triumphantly at a press conference held in the Hall of Justice. "We have the hand-written formula, provided by the project physicist, which Samuels was supposed to program. He negligently misinterpreted the formula, leading to this gruesome death. Society must protect itself against programmers who make careless mistakes or no one will be safe, least of all our families and our children", she said. The Sentinel-Observer has been able to obtain a copy of the hand- written formula in question. There are, in fact, three similar formulae, scrawled on a piece of yellow legal pad paper. Each formula describes the motion of the robot arm in one direction: east-west, north-south and up-down. The Sentinel-Observer showed the

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