The chess people play is a game of strategic thinking, calm concentration, and patient intellectual effort. Violence usually doesn’t get that far. The same, apparently, cannot always be said of machines.
Last week, according to Russian media reports, a chess robot, apparently frustrated by the quick reaction of a seven-year-old boy, unceremoniously grabbed and broke his finger during a match at the Moscow Open.
“The robot broke a child’s finger,” Sergey Lazarev, president of the Moscow Chess Federation, said after the incident, adding that the machine had held many previous exhibitions without grief. – This, of course, is bad.
A video of the July 19 incident published by the Telegram channel Baza shows the boy’s finger pinched by a robotic arm for several seconds before a woman, followed by three men, rushes in, frees him and takes him away.
Sergei Smagin, vice president of the Russian Chess Federation, told Baza that the robot appeared to pounce on him after it took one of the boy’s pieces. According to him, instead of waiting for the car to complete its movement, the boy preferred a quick retaliatory strike.
“There are certain safety rules, and the child apparently violated them. When he made his move, he didn’t understand that he had to wait first,” Smagin said. “This is an extremely rare case, the first one that I can remember,” he added.
Lazarev had a different version, which said that the child “made a move, and after that you need to give the robot time to answer, but the boy was in a hurry, and the robot grabbed him.” In any case, he said, robot suppliers “will have to think again.”
Baza named the boy Christopher and named him one of the top 30 chess players in the Russian capital in the up to nines category. “People rushed to help and pulled out the young player’s finger, but the fracture could not be avoided,” the message says.
Lazarev told TASS that Christopher, whose finger was put in a cast, did not look overly traumatized by the attack. “The child played the very next day, finished the tournament, and the volunteers helped to record the moves,” he said.
However, his parents reportedly contacted the prosecutor’s office. “We will contact, sort it out and try to help in any way we can,” he said. Smagin told RIA Novosti that the incident was a “coincidence” and that the robot was “absolutely safe.”
The machine, which can play multiple matches at the same time and has reportedly already played three on the day it ran into Christopher, was “unique” according to him. “He has performed at many openings. Apparently, children need to be warned. It happens.”
Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin said the incident was undoubtedly due to “some kind of programming error or something,” adding, “This has never happened before. There are such accidents. I wish the boy well.”
Christopher may have been lucky. While robots are becoming more and more sophisticated, the most modern models, capable of not only interacting, but also actively cooperating with people, for the most part simply repeat the same basic actions – grab, move, lower – and do not know and don’t care if people fall into a trap. path.
According to one 2015 study, in the US alone, an industrial robot kills one person every year. Indeed, since 2000, most workplace accidents involving robots have been fatal, according to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Robert Williams, considered by many to be the first, was crushed to death by the hand of a one-ton robot on a Ford production line in Michigan in 1979. In 2015, a robot killed a 22-year-old contractor at one of Volkswagen’s German factories by grabbing him. and crushed it against a metal plate.
Robots used in medical surgery are also responsible for 144 deaths between 2008 and 2013. Most recently, Elaine Herzberg was killed by an Uber self-driving car that struck a 49-year-old woman at 40 mph while she was crossing a road in Tempe. , Arizona, 2018.
However, in general, the most common cause is human error or human misunderstanding of robotic processes. You should be careful with robots, even if they are just playing chess.
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