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.
Jesus… A robot broke kid‘s finger at Chess Tournament in Moscow @elonmusk @MagnusCarlsen— ???????????????????????????? ???????????????????????? (@russian_market) July 21, 2022
There is no violence in chess, they said.
Come and play, they said. https://t.co/W7sgnxAFCi pic.twitter.com/OVBGCv2R9H
All acquisition that advanced AI will destroy humanity is false. Not the powerful AI or breaching laws of robotics will destroy humanity, but engineers with both left hands :/— Pavel Osadchuk ???????????? (@xakpc) July 21, 2022
On video - a chess robot breaks a kid's finger at Moscow Chess Open today. pic.twitter.com/bIGIbHztar
We should totally send the Boston Dynamics assault rifle robot dog after that kiddy finger breaking Russian chess robot.— John Birmingham (@JohnBirmingham) July 25, 2022