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Overworked cleaning robot reportedly ‘rebelled’ and ‘committed suicide’

Firemen in Austria have claimed to have witnessed the first ever robot suicide when a cleaning robot ‘rebelled’ against its orders and climbed onto a hotplate to end its monotonous existence.


It would seem that constant cleaning became just too much for a poor cleaning robot in Austria, which caused a blaze in a Kirchdorf house when it climbed from a work surface onto a kitchen hotplate and destroyed itself.

The robot was placed on the work surface by the home-owner to clean up some cereal and once it had completed its task of mopping up, it was deactivated and the home-owner left the house with his wife. The robot somehow reactivated itself in its owners’ absence though and moved onto an oven hob where it first melted, and then caught fire and burned.

Fireman Helmut Kniewasser said of the event:

“The entire building had to be evacuated and there was severe smoke damage particularly in the flat where the robot had been in use.

“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.”

Gernot Hackl, the owner of the smoke-damaged flat and former owner of a cleaning robot also spoke about the incident:

“Everything is black. It’s not possible to live here at the moment. I would never buy one again, you buy them to keep the place clean, not almost burn it down and ruin everything.” He is now reported to be homeless as the smoke damage has left his flat uninhabitable.

Could the world have seen its first robot suicide? It’s unlikely, but Hackl insists he powered-down the robot before leaving so at the very least something unusual happened in that Austrian flat on Tuesday. What do you think?

Callum Heard
Callum is a physics, mathematics and computer science student from the English Midlands. He is fascinated by science and philosophy and the curious ways in which they interact.

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