A chess robot grabbed and broke the finger of a seven-year-old opponent in Moscow because the boy ‘violated’ the safety rules of the game by taking his turn too quickly.
Local media outlets have reported that the chess-playing robot was apparently unsettled by the boy’s quick responses at the Moscow Open.
After the incident, the president of the Moscow Chess Federation, Sergey Lazarev, told reporters that “the robot broke the child’s finger, this is of course bad,” but added that the machine had played many previous exhibitions without becoming upset.
Chess is a game of strategic thinking, calm concentration, and patient intellectual endeavor and technically played by humans with no expectations for violence. Hence, machines are held to the same standards.
The video published by Baza Telegram channel shows the incident with the boy’s finger being pinched by the robotic arm for several seconds before three people rushed in to help the boy. Nevertheless, his finger had already been injured.
Rather than wait for the machine to complete its move, the boy countered with a quick. it was at this point that the robot became upset and took one of the boy’s pieces. Sergey Smagin said.
He further added, “There are certain safety rules and the child, apparently, violated them. When he made his move, he did not [realize] he first had to wait,” Smagin said. “This is an extremely rare case, the first I can recall.”
The victim of the incident was later identified as Christopher and is one of the thirty best chess players in the Russian capital in the under-nines category.
Lazarev reported that the boy had received treatment, and his finger was placed in a cast. Christopher does not seem overly traumatized by the incident. “The child played the very next day, finished the tournament, and volunteers helped to record the moves,” he said.
His parents, however, have reportedly contacted the public prosecutor’s office. “We will communicate, figure it out and try to help in any way we can,” Smagin said.
Robots identified as potential threats to humans
Robots are becoming more sophisticated with modern models capable not just of interaction but active cooperation with humans. Yet, most robots still simply repeat the same basic actions, including grabbing, moving, and putting things down. Most robots are, furthermore, incapable of knowing or caring about people getting in the way.
Sergey Karjakin, a Russian grandmaster said, the incident was no doubt due to “some kind of software error or something,” adding that “this has never happened before. There are such accidents. I wish the boy good health.”
A study in 2015 indicated that one person is killed each year by an industrial robot in the US alone. Indeed, according to the US occupational safety administration, most occupational accidents since 2000 involving robots have been fatalities.
In 1979, Robert Williams who is widely considered the first victim of a robot, was crushed to death by the arm of a one-ton robot on Ford’s Michigan production line. In 2015, a robot killed a 22-year-old contractor at one of Volkswagen’s German plants, grabbing him and crushing him against a metal plate.
In medical surgery, robots were also held responsible for the deaths of 144 people between 2008 and 2013. More recently, Elaine Herzberg was killed by an Uber autonomous car that hit the 49-year-old at 40 mph as she was crossing the road in Tempe, Arizona in 2018.
People are generally advised to be extra vigilant while dealing with robots, as human error or a lack of human understanding of robotic processes obviously causes robots to be prone to errors.