A social experiment designed to test the kindness of strangers came to a violent end over the weekend in Philadelphia, a city known as “The Birthplace of America.” HitchBOT, a chatty hitchhiking robot, had traveled through Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands, before arriving in the U.S. just two weeks ago. After beginning his journey in Boston with aspirations of making it all the way to the west coast, HitchBOT made it only 300 miles before being murdered.
HitchBOT was found Saturday decapitated and dismembered. A surveillance video has surfaced showing a man clad in a Philadelphia Eagles jersey stomping the robot repeatedly after ripping off its arms.
HitchBOT’s parents, the Canadian researchers who built him, were obviously disappointed by his untimely demise. “Unfortunately, HitchBOT was vandalized overnight in Philadelphia; sometimes bad things happen to good robots,” they wrote on a website devoted to the robot’s travels. At this time, their focus is on collecting the remains. They have seen a photo of HitchBOT, but can no longer track him as his battery has died.
Though the researchers have said they have no interest in pressing charges against HitchBOT’s assailant, it is hard to imagine that it would matter if they did. Philadelphia has recorded 33 murders in the last month alone. Jesse Wellens, a popular Philadelphia You-Tube video-maker who gave HitchBOT his final ride may have summed it up best when he tweeted “Of course Killadelphia Kills the Robot!” So much for the City of Brotherly Love.
Video has surfaced online that appears to show how HitchBOT was destroyed.