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A Chess Robot Broke a Kid’s Finger During Tournament in World’s First Incident of the Kind

Depending on where you get your online content, this world is doomed and nothing ever happens that is not yet another step in that direction. This incident can also be interpreted this way, but it shouldn’t.
Chess-playing robot breaks 7yo's finger during 2022 Moscow tournament 6 photos
Chess-playing robot breaks 7yo's finger during 2022 Moscow tournamentChess-playing robot breaks 7yo's finger during 2022 Moscow tournamentChess-playing robot breaks 7yo's finger during 2022 Moscow tournamentChess-playing robot breaks 7yo's finger during 2022 Moscow tournamentChess-playing robot breaks 7yo's finger during 2022 Moscow tournament
During the recent 2022 Moscow Open chess tournament, a chess robot broke a kid’s finger. The incident was captured on surveillance cameras and, because this is Russia we’re talking about, only got international media attention at the end of last week. The video has now attained viral status and is interpreted by many as a sign of (very bad) times to come. You can also see it below.

The robot had played three other matches that day and, during the incident, was facing 7-year-old Christopher, who’s described in the local media as among the top 30 players in the country under the age of 9. He is a prodigy in chess, but his quick thinking got the best of him on this particular occasion, because he moved too quickly and failed to leave enough response time for the robot.

Moscow Chess Federation President Sergey Lazarev tells Tass that this is not the first time they rented this robot (which, based on the video alone, can engage up to four human players at once), but it is a first for an incident of this kind. “A robot broke a child’s finger – that’s bad, of course,” Lazarev says. “Apparently the operators overlooked that. The child moved the figure, then the robot must be given time to react. But the boy was in a hurry and the robot grabbed him.”

The boy was eventually rescued from the robot’s clutch by four spectators and rushed offstage. Lazarev says the boy finished the tournament the next day and was apparently none the worse for it – except for the broken finger, which was in plaster.

Sergey Smagin, vice-president of the Russian Chess Federation, also says that the incident was the boy’s fault, since he didn’t allow the robot to complete its move. Smagin says there are “rules” that must be followed in human interactions with machines, or accidents happen. The robot is “absolutely safe,” but he concedes that something must be done to prevent something like this from happening again.

Coincidentally, this story comes after another robot went viral on social media, also from Russia. In an older video reposted to Twitter, a Spot robo-dog-lookalike with a machine gun mounted on its back, took target practice in a very Terminator fashion, sending shivers down the collective spine of all those who believe robots and AI will eventually spell the end of mankind.

As this incident proves, context is essential in understanding whatever potential threat robots pose to humans. All’s fair in love and war, and games of chess, but only where humans are concerned. Robots don’t care. At least at this point, they don’t.







 
 
 
 
 

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