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Recently a man in Bellevue, Washington, finding that his car would not go through some six inches of snow, became enraged and attacked the automobile. He broke out the car’s windows with a tire iron and emptied a revolver into its side. “He killed it,” said police. “It’s a case of autocide.”
Such wanton acts of violence are not limited to Coke machines, photocopiers, public telephones, and other gizmos that steal our dimes and quarters. In 1979, a sheriff in California shot a large mainframe computer for uncontrollably spewing out arrest records. As if to even the score, that same year a one-ton Litton Industries mobile robot stalked and killed a human warehouse worker who trespassed on the machine’s turf during business hours. The worker’s family sued Litton and was awarded a $10-million judgment, but the surly robot got off with a slap on the sensor.
Industries mobile robot stalked and killed a human warehouse worker who trespassed on the machine’s turf during business hours