back to article BAD things happen to GOOD robots in America: hitchBot DECAPITATED

hitchBOT, the small robot that hitch-hiked across Canada last year, has been decapitated in Philadelphia. HitchBOT was an experiment in human attitudes to robots. The creation's creators give it an online bucket list and hoped that it's smiling LED face and written instructions would induce people to drive it in the direction …

  1. LDS Silver badge

    It didn't have a gun...

    ... to defend himself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It didn't have a gun...

      Shirley you mean 'Itself?' Following the lead of the HitchBOT site, all references to the robot are via its proper name, "HitchBOT." Sure does avoid a lot of awkardness about gender and stuff.

      1. Mpeler

        Re: It didn't have a gun...

        It looks like someone decided to, erm, execute the "or bust" statement (San Francisco or bust)...

        (Gets me coat, tinfoil hat, duct tape)...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardly surprising

    The only surprise is that the locals went for beheading and disemboweling rather than the more traditional American approach with firearms. Sounds like IS at work to me.

    1. Fungus Bob

      Re: Hardly surprising

      We have to change our methods periodically to keep the rest of the world off balance.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Hardly surprising

      It does make it less likely that it was a Minnesota dentist at work.

  3. thomas k

    The City of Brotherly Love? Not so much.

    WTF is wrong with people?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: The City of Brotherly Love? Not so much.

      It turns out HitchBOT is not fraternally related to anyone in Philadelphia. The motto is quite specific; they never said anything about loving machines, or anything not male.

      To be honest, I was nervous when it left Marblehead for Salem. I expect the witches were fine with it, and the Puritans might stroke their beards and look askance, but there's a college in Salem and undergraduates are one of the most destructive predator species in the US. Amazing it got as far as Philly, really.

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    Revenge Attack

    The robot was obviously assumed to be a terrorist and beheaded by members of Homeland Security.

    Expect to see video posted of the beheading with perps disguised in traditional American clothing (pointy hats and sheets).

    1. Lysenko

      Re: Revenge Attack

      The creators forgot to fit clearly unambiguous genitalia and name it "HeteroBOT". You know how hot under the collar some 'merkins get about ambiguous gender identity and (scare quotes time) the "Gay Agenda"!!!

      Letting an intersexual and possibly homosexual (yes, I know: logic isn't relevant) robot into your CAR!!?? Possibly with ("THINK OF THE...") CHILDREN??!!

      The horror doesn't bear thinking about. Thank $DEITY this unholy abomination can no longer menace impressionable young minds on the public highway.

    2. Mpeler

      Re: Revenge Attack

      Planned Parenthood has been filmed selling the parts, claiming "robots can't feel pain".

      Meanwhile the hitchBOT's developers are angry because it was claimed it wasn't viable.

  5. kevin king


    This is why 'Merica can't have nice things!!!

  6. Doogs

    An experiment in human attitudes

    What? Still a valid result, isn't it?

    1. K

      Re: An experiment in human attitudes

      Brilliant! made me laugh on a Monday morning. +1 for you sir!

  7. Graham Marsden

    Of course actually...

    ... it was kidnapped by Aliens and subjected to all sorts of probing.

    It will then return a couple of hundred years in the future on a mission to find its creator...

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. hplasm

      Re: Looking at the picture...

      Or the Yankees...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Mpeler

          Re: Looking at the picture...(It was smashed by a rod?)

          No, it was a-rod who was smashed - swung and missed.....

          (A's fan here....)

  9. xperroni

    No country for Canuck robots

    It was much too gentle for them 'muricans.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: No country for Canuck robots

      They cracked it open because they heard there was peameal bacon in its belly.

  10. Fraggle850

    Between beheading innocent robots and slaughtering beloved lions

    The 'mercins aren't covering themselves in glory lately. Such a shame.

  11. AbelSoul

    The hitchbot

    Stood by the side of the road

    And leveled his thumb

    In the calm calculus of reason.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    God bless America!

    Doubtless another victim inside one of the countless 'hoods which are no-go areas for everyone including the police.

    America's great, just as long as you can afford to live in a gated community.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: God bless America!

      The US has large areas that are safe, and a few inner-city pits (mostly Democrat-controlled mega-cities) where liberal Democrat policy has had many decades to fester. I presume that the robot's builders assumed it would be okay to go thru Philly, home of American Freedom and all that. Uh, no.

      That time has long passed. As stated by others, Philly is a no-go zone. That poor robot never had a chance.

      Or...was this the intended result? Run the robot thru Canada and Europe, skirting any cities that might prove dangerous, then ship it off to Philly and certain doom, the better to criticize those degenerate 'Mericans.

      1. Fraggle850

        Re: God bless America!

        I suspect it was just unfortunate that the robot was dropped off in a dodgy area while travelling through the US, there are plenty of dodgy places in Europe too, guess it just avoided them by good fortune.

        In England our more dangerous inner city areas also tend to consistently return left of centre candidates however I wouldn't attribute the undoubted social problems to their political choices, rather I'd see that as symptomatic of the lack of affluence in those areas which tends to lead to social problems.

      2. Dagg

        Re: God bless America!

        >The US has large areas that are safe

        You mean like Texas!

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: God bless America!

      just as long as you can afford to live in a gated community

      Gated communities are for idiots. They have higher property crime rates than demographically-similar non-gated communities, and worse response times for emergency services.

      And, of course, they're ethically abhorrent.

      On the plus side, they collect self-indulgent, paranoid middle-class morons into clearly-demarcated pods, so the rest of us can avoid them.

  13. Omgwtfbbqtime



    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That head is just going to turn up somewhere magnetically attached to a lamp post, reprogrammed to display a smiley face isn't it.

  14. Tom B

    Not Surprised

    I lived most of my life in Philly, where we used an old metal bed-rail to block the front door at night, and only took trash to the curb in daylight. This doesn't surprise me at all. The robot should have Googled the city before deciding to hitch-hike through it, so it's all the robot's fault.

    Still, it's not a total loss. I think there's a potential horror movie in here somewhere.

  15. drone2903 in Kanuckistant

    I am surprised

    .. that it lasted that long in the US of A.

  16. ukgnome

    Didn't this happen to Brian?

    *who says advertising doesn't work!

  17. sandman

    Strange City

    I had the pleasure (it genuinely was, great people and mostly a fun time) of working there for a few weeks. It's quite an interesting place, there's a strip extending right through the centre as far as the amazing art museum which is historic, beautiful in places and pretty safe. The only downside being a very large number of homeless people, some of whom are pretty aggressive. I was strongly advised not to go to some of the other bits under any conceivable circumstances. On my last day before flying home another of the hotel guests was murdered in their room, which was then set on fire. As I said, an interesting place...

  18. sisk

    NOT indicative of American attitudes

    Some idiot has gone and contributed further to the bad reputation of Americans. Most of us would never dream of vandalizing Hitchbot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NOT indicative of American attitudes

      SOME idiot? The robot's makers apparently sent it on a tour of the worst socialist hellholes to be found in North America, after shepherding it thru the less-traveled parts of Canada and Europe safely. Are they really that innocent?

      Here is the Canadian route. I can't find the Europe route, but I assume it also follows the back roads as the Canadian route does. At least I don't see any large cities along it. Odd about that...

      1. MeRp

        Re: NOT indicative of American attitudes

        Well, it did go through Quebec city... I've heard that place is kind of crap. Also, notably, it almost immediately entered the US after its departure, travelled through my state (Washington), then re-entered Canada. Apparently the idea that entering the US near-immediately spelled the things death-knell is forfeit.

      2. CharlieAmerica

        Re: NOT indicative of American attitudes

        Halifax, St. John, Quebec City, not bad places but certainly not "less-traveled parts of Canada"; the route from La Toque to Thunder Bay would be the worst on this trip as that truly is the middle of nowhere and traveled almost exclusively by long-haul truckers.

        The remainder of the route is really the most expedient to get from TB to Vancouver (including dropping down in the East Kootenay to the U.S. and taking less windy route...

        (full disclosure: despite - or because of the name for those of you who remember Not Brand Ech - I have lived across both countries and traveled same so I know of which I speak)

    2. Mpeler

      Re: NOT indicative of American attitudes

      I think the developers should now release one which can defend itself...

      Name it Alfred.

      Alfred HitchBot...

      (Gets me coat, ahhhh, all these birds... with knives... at my Rear Window)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And nooow for theeeee..

    De--Cappucino !!!

    (kudos to the first person who tells us which film that was from)..

    AC, because he doesen't want the machines to find out where he lives

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next year - CarJackBot

    Given the failure of HitchBot to complete his mission relying only human kindness, Hitchbot's memory will be transplanted into an FBI Bomb Disposal Robot, and his 30mm chain gun will offer a wider range of responses to irrational human aggression.

    Seriously though, can anyone seriously expect benevolent, non-violent AI when humans act like this?

    1. Robert Helpmann??

      Re: Next year - CarJackBot

      Seriously though, can anyone seriously expect benevolent, non-violent AI when humans act like this?

      And it's for exactly that reason we need it.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Next year - CarJackBot

      Seriously though, can anyone seriously expect benevolent, non-violent AI when humans act like this?

      How are the two correlated?

      Personally, I don't think "benevolent, non-violent AI" is well-defined. I don't even think "AI" is well-defined in that sentence. But even guessing at a reasonable definition, I fail to see why you think there's some connection between it and human behavior.

  21. DrM

    Robot PSA

  22. A Nonny Moose

    Seems like it should have taken that opportunity to go live with it's aunt and uncle in Bel Air

  23. cortland

    " we wish to remember the good times, and we encourage hitchBOT’s friends and fans to do the same.”"

    Lop off heads and remove contents? Hmm.

  24. Rick Brasche

    Report all suspicious devices!

    Homeland Security probably "defused" the poor thing.

    Remember peeps, Americans are not their government. It's proven harder to remove the idiots now that more of us think rotten leaders will leave if you yell at them. We've forgotten that bad leaders only leave when they're afraid of their charges, and DC isn't afraid of twitter accounts.

  25. Richard Scratcher

    Go that way. You'll be malfunctioning within a day, you near-sighted scrap pile.

    Did it have an annoying auto-tune voice like that xxxking xxxx of a xxxking robot from the adverts? If so I’d have cheerfully joined in giving it a good kicking.

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