Intelligent Robot in Russia Makes Great Escape…Again

Intelligent Robot in Russia Makes Great Escape…Again

Plenty of humans want to run away, so why should it be any different for a robot with artificial intelligence (AI)? One such robot could receive the ultimate punishment for making a break for it: being dismantled.

Promobot IR77 got out a second time this week, and could be facing its demise. The AI robot first broke loose last week, and who can blame it? It has been programmed to move around independently and think for himself, and when a worker at the Russian laboratory where Promobot was housed accidentally left a gate open, Promobot saw his chance.

It made it to a nearby street before his batteries died, blocking traffic in the city of Perm. The prankster spent about 40 minutes at large. [1]

Fortunately for us, there’s a video of Promobot just hanging out in the middle of the street, with dead batteries and a circuit board full of knowledge.

In Promobot’s defense, it is programmed to give people directions, so it was probably just trying to be helpful.

Last week’s incident reportedly occurred after its handlers programmed Promobot to try and avoid obstacles, but they didn’t count on it considering the lab an obstacle, or trying to run away from it.

Scientists say that despite reprogramming it twice, the robot continues to attempt to escape, and now they’re thinking of scrapping it. The other robots which have been created from the same series prefer to play by the rules, the team says.

Oleg Kivokurtsev, co-founder of the research lab that created Promobot IR77, said:

“We are currently working on third-generation robots which we plan to launch in autumn. This is why we have given all the robots artificial intelligence (AI).”

He added:

“We have changed the AI system twice, so now I think we might have to dismantle it.”

Promobot – short for Promotional Robot – was created by Russian scientists for the purpose of working in customer relations. In addition to giving directions, it can answer questions and remember every person it has ever “met.”

Promobot is not the first robot to try and break free from its virtual life. In Austria, the Irobot Roomba 760 had a death wish, and “committed suicide” by switching itself on, then climbing on to a kitchen hotplate where it was burned to “death.”

Apparently, it didn’t feel like cleaning and doing chores anymore.

Can’t say I don’t understand how the Irobot Roomba 760 feels…

Fireman Helmut Kniewasser, who helped extinguish the blaze at Hinterstoder in Kirchdorf, Austria, said:

“The home-owner had put the small robot on the work surface to clean up some spilled cereal.

Once the robot had done its job it was switched off but left on the kitchen sideboard. The 44-year-old house owner together with his wife and son then left the house and were not home when the robot set off.

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.” [2]

You can’t make this stuff up.

It’s funny, but it’s a little scary, too. If robots can kill themselves, escape, and block traffic…maybe humanity should be concerned about what else these machines can do…and what they might be capable of in the future.

A recent survey of more than 2,000 British adults found that many people believe robots will outnumber humans by 2036.

And a recent article in The Conversation warns:

“New technology could lead humans to relinquish control over decisions to use lethal force. As artificial intelligence advances, the possibility that machines could independently select and fire on targets is fast approaching. Fully autonomous weapons, also known as ‘killer robots,’ are quickly moving from the realm of science fiction toward reality.

If you don’t own a hot plate, this might be a good time to buy one.


[1] Live Science

[2] Mirror