Robots are malfunctioning, hurting people


A mounting list of robot-related accidents has experts questioning whether the devices will be prone to more dangerous malfunctions or even programmed attacks.

Notable mishaps that have been documented include a robotic security guard knocking over a child at a California shopping mall, a demonstration robot smashing a window at a Chinese conference—it caused a bystander to get injured, and 144 deaths in the United States caused by robotic surgery. All this according to security firm IOActive.

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These incidents “clearly demonstrate the serious potential consequences of robot malfunctions,” the consultancy says in a white paper it recently published about existing robot security (PDF).

The firm says it’s only a matter of time before even more serious incidents occur unless action is taken.

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