Hitchhiking Robot Designed to Test Human Compassion Found Decapitated in Under 2 Weeks

The folks at Ryerson University were clearly hoping that their HitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot that was reliant upon human compassion to get it from A to B, would prove to be an uplifting story that highlighted how despite all the doom ‘n’ gloom in the world, humans are actually really nice and they would absolutely allow it to accompany them on their travels without, y’know, decapitating it and leaving it for red on the sidewalk.

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Unfortunately for Ryerson University, that’s exactly what happened. After just 2 weeks of travelling through Canada, the US and (somehow) Germany, HitchBOT ended up in Philadelphia where he was transformed from this:


Into this: 

Photo: twitter.com/laurenonizzle

The plan was for HitchBOT to make its way to San Francisco (it had the sign “San Francisco or bust” taped to its head), but now its voyage has come to an abrupt end. A message on the HitchBOT website reads: “Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends. I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots! My trip must come to an end for now, but my love for humans will never fade. Thank you to all my friends.”

Now I don’t want to accuse HitchBOT of being insincere, but if I had spent just 2 weeks in this mortal realm before being brutally murdered with my corpse left to decompose on the side of the road, my love for humans would likely fade very quickly. Ryerson University have stated that they will not be pressing charges against those who vandalized the robot, with them instead encouraging those it journeyed with “to remember the good times.”

[Via Wired]