In an age when artificial intelligence is expanding across all realms of human activity, stories of malfunctioning robots do give a chill up our spines. That may be owing to popular science fiction narratives about earth-invading villainous machines which can think and reason like humans. But recently a robot broke a child’s finger and stirred up tensions.

Scene from the footage showing the match at the Moscow Chess Open on July 19th

Robot Gone Rogue?

During the Moscow Open Chess tournament last week, a chess-playing robot grabbed the finger of his opponent, a 7-year-old boy, and fractured it. According to Sergey Lazarev, vice president of the Moscow Chess Federation, the boy had tried to rush the robot on 19th July. The robot apparently did not like the hurry.

The child, Christopher, who is one of the top 30 youngest chess players in Russia, did not give the robot its stipulated time to respond. A video published by the Russian media channel ‘Baza’, shows the robot reaching for the child’s hand across the chessboard and holding it tightly, after which two men come hurriedly to wrench the child’s hand free from the robot’s grasp.

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“The people around rushed to help and pulled out the finger of the young player, but the fracture could not be avoided.”

Sergey Smagin, vice president of the Russian Chess Federation, said that the youngster did not sustain a major injury. “The boy is all right. They put a plaster cast on the finger to heal faster,” he said. The child continued the match the next day and finished the tournament, while volunteers helped to record the moves.

Reasons And The Near Future

Lazarev said that the robot was rented by them for the chess tournament. Apparently, it had been exhibited at many venues by specialists for a long time. But the operators had overlooked some flaws, thereby allowing scope for such a mishap to occur. “A robot broke a child’s finger — this is, of course, bad,” he said.

Lazarev extended reassurance to prevent dangerous incidents as such in the future. “We will coordinate to understand what happened and try to help (the family) in any way we can. And the robot’s operators, apparently, will have to think about strengthening protection so that such a situation does not happen again.”

With rapid technological advancement, the robotic race is intermingling with humans in every way possible. Many robots have made beneficial contributions to our society, like robot dogs and robot vacuums.

But hints of negative instances also rise. Recently, a Google engineer lost his job for claiming that the company’s AI technology LaMDA has a consciousness. So buckle up as we are heading with lightning speed into a future filled with thinking and reasoning robots.

Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked

Sources: Mint, CNN, Mashable

Image sources: Google Images

Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth

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This post is tagged under: artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence can be fatal, robots, chess robot, AI robot, robots can be harmful, chess robot hurts child opponent, Russian chess match, Moscow Open Chess Tournament, Russian chess player, youngest 30 Russian chess players, playing chess with a robot, chess robot breaks finger of a boy, technology

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  1. It’s becoming clear that with all the brain and consciousness theories out there, the proof will be in the pudding. By this I mean, can any particular theory be used to create a human adult level conscious machine. My bet is on the late Gerald Edelman’s Extended Theory of Neuronal Group Selection. The lead group in robotics based on this theory is the Neurorobotics Lab at UC at Irvine. Dr. Edelman distinguished between primary consciousness, which came first in evolution, and that humans share with other conscious animals, and higher order consciousness, which came to only humans with the acquisition of language. A machine with primary consciousness will probably have to come first.

    What I find special about the TNGS is the Darwin series of automata created at the Neurosciences Institute by Dr. Edelman and his colleagues in the 1990’s and 2000’s. These machines perform in the real world, not in a restricted simulated world, and display convincing physical behavior indicative of higher psychological functions necessary for consciousness, such as perceptual categorization, memory, and learning. They are based on realistic models of the parts of the biological brain that the theory claims subserve these functions. The extended TNGS allows for the emergence of consciousness based only on further evolutionary development of the brain areas responsible for these functions, in a parsimonious way. No other research I’ve encountered is anywhere near as convincing.

    I post because on almost every video and article about the brain and consciousness that I encounter, the attitude seems to be that we still know next to nothing about how the brain and consciousness work; that there’s lots of data but no unifying theory. I believe the extended TNGS is that theory. My motivation is to keep that theory in front of the public. And obviously, I consider it the route to a truly conscious machine, primary and higher-order.

    My advice to people who want to create a conscious machine is to seriously ground themselves in the extended TNGS and the Darwin automata first, and proceed from there, by applying to Jeff Krichmar’s lab at UC Irvine, possibly. Dr. Edelman’s roadmap to a conscious machine is at


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