Robots have been a fascination of people for decades ever since the first Science fiction author came up with the idea. This latest internet meme plays into that idea. On July 14th, product manager Bilal Farooqi, posted an image on Twitter of a robot that appeared to have drowned itself. While no one from the company that created the robot, Knightscope, was able to provide an explanation for the apparent suicide, instead simply saying that it was an “isolated incident” and it was under investigation, many of Farooqi’s twitter followers and social media commentators had plenty of ideas.
Fans of the Hitchhiker’s Galaxy were particularly affluent, as the security robot, which was designed to look a bit like the depressed robot Marvin as depicted in thehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JubaAS1v-w. Many Twitter users posted quotes from the movie or wondered if it had been read Vogon poetry, which for the uninitiated is another reference to the book, movie, tv, and radio series.
As the photo began to go viral other people pointed out that Marvin is not the only depressed or suicidal robot out there. People posted a number jokes, included several Daleks who inexplicably fell off cliffs, and of course, Bender the suicidal robot from Futurama made an appearance. Buzzfeed even posted an article featuring the some of the best of these tweets.
But among all these jokes and tweets, no one was able to come up with a reason why the robot committed suicide. Was it simply bored, as such a high-end security robot that is able to prevent crimes and save lives probably didn’t have much to do in the relatively safe DC Harbour office building where Farooqi worked? Maybe it wasn’t suicide, and Knightscope’s tight lips are because of a cover-up, rather than just a lack of information. We may never know, but at least we can have a few minutes of fun at this robots expense.