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Death by robot: the new mechanised danger in our changing world

The Guardian

Was killed last Sunday by an Uber autonomous car that hit the 49-year-old at approximately 40mph as she was crossing the road in Tempe, Arizona. Police confirmed there was an operator in the Volvo SUV at the time of the collision, and stated that it didn't appear the car had slowed down. Cited as the first human killed by a robot, Williams was an assembly worker at Ford's Flat Rock plant in Michigan. He was crushed to death by the arm of a one-tonne robot on the production line on 25 January 1979. His family was awarded $10m in damages.

A rogue robot is blamed for the gruesome death of a human colleague


Usually when people worry about machines and work, they are concerned that automation will take away their livelihoods, not their lives. But a new lawsuit claiming a rogue robot is responsible for killing a human colleague reveals additional nightmarish possibilities. In July 2015, Wanda Holbrook, a maintenance technician performing routine duties on an assembly line at Ventra Ionia Main, an auto-parts maker in Ionia, Michigan, was "trapped by robotic machinery" and crushed to death. On March 7, her husband, William Holbrook, filed a wrongful death complaint (pdf) in Michigan federal court, naming five North American robotics companies involved in engineering and integrating the machines and parts used at the plant: Prodomax, Flex-N-Gate, FANUC, Nachi, and Lincoln Electric. Holbrook's job involved keeping robots in working order.

Rogue factory robot blamed for death of human colleague


A rogue robot has been blamed for the death of a woman killed in an accident at an auto-parts factory in Michigan. Wanda Holbrook, who worked as a maintenance technician at the Ventra Ionia Mains plant for 12 years, was "trapped by robotic machinery and pronounced dead at the scene" in July 2015. The 57-year-old's widower, William Holbrook, has filed a wrongful death complaint seeking damages from five robotics companies responsible for manufacturing, installing and testing the robotics: Lincoln Electric, Flex-N-Gate, Prodomax, FANUC and Nachi. "Wanda was working in either section 140 or 150 within the '100' cell, when a robot from section 130 took Wanda by surprise, entering the section she was working," the lawsuit alleges. She "suffered tremendous fright, shock and conscious pain and suffering" when she was crushed to death, the suit claims.

When robots kill: deaths by machines are nothing new but AI is about to change everything


On January 25, 1979, 25-year-old Robert Williams climbed into a storage rack to retrieve parts from a malfunctioning robot at Ford's Flat Rock plant in Michigan. The robot, not able to sense Williams' presence, swung round and struck him on the head, killing him instantly. The robot kept working for 30 minutes as Williams lay dead on the floor. His death, nearly forty years ago, makes Williams the first person to be killed as a result of actions by a robot. In August 1983, his family was awarded $10 million after a jury ruled against Unit Handling, the company that designed the one-ton machine.

The Perils of AI- Can Robotics be Programmed to Kill Humans?


About 78 years ago, back in the year, 1942 sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov laid out the popularly known Asimov's Laws, a set of principles which the robots should follow for the future applications, these include- Unfortunately, the first rule has been broken a lot of times, causing concerns about the dangers of Automation. The gravest threat arises from the co-working Robots also called as the Cobots, who work in tandem with the human hands. This is no exaggeration, the US Department of Labor which keeps a track of robotic injuries to the workforce, lists out serious injuries in 38 pages which are caused by robotic malfunction, and that not include the manual dangers of hacking. The insecure software systems are no help, regularly attacked by a growing number of hackers who take advantage of insecure software systems to manipulate robot programming to turn on the dark side of Robotics. In his book When Robots Kill, law professor Gabriel Hallevy discusses the criminal liability that arises from the perils of AI infiltrating the commercial, industrial, military, medical, and personal spheres.