Death by Robot

The first recorded human death by robot was in 1979, when Robert Williams, a 25 year old Ford Motor assembly line worker, was slammed by a robot arm as he gathered parts in a storage facility. The incident occurred in Flat Rock, Michigan, and Williams’ family was awarded 10 million dollars in damages after the jury agreed that Williams’ death was the result of a lack of safety measures on the part of Ford Motor.

These days, robots have become fairly commonplace, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates believes that robots are likely to become the focus of the next technological frontier. With increasing advancements in the field of robotics, more and more Americans are becoming concerned about these machines. The two primary concerns are that the robots will replace the need for human workers and that robotic intelligence may exceed human intelligence.

Robot: a real or imaginary machine that is controlled by a computer and is often made to look like a human or animal; a machine that can do the work of a person and that works automatically or is controlled by a computer. First known use: 1922. The word “robot” comes from the Czech word for “forced labor.”