What we can learn from the hitchBOT social experiment

Hitchbot
the hitchhiking robot
Philadelphia ,PA

Those that say that Canadians are too nice and trusting were proven correct over the weekend when a social experiment conducted by a Canadian group came to an end in the United States.  This group of Canadian researchers developed HitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot, that was designed to travel from one destination to the next with the help of strangers.  Along the way it would carry on limited conversations, take pictures, and keep fans informed of its journey on a Twitter page.  This experiment had been successfully completed in Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany.  Unfortunately hitchBOT never made it across the United States as planned.

Over the weekend, hitchBOT arrived in Philadelphia and was transferred to a pair of vloggers for a YouTube channel called BFvsGF.  These vloggers took hitchBOT to see the Liberty Bell but soon grew tired of the “freaky” robot and left it on a park bench.  The next day someone discovered that hitchBOT had been destroyed, its technology (albeit probably inexpensive) stolen.  The Twitter-verse immediately exploded in condemnation of the unfriendly people of the United States.  After all, how could someone harm poor little hitchBOT.

Brendan Spaar feels that there is a bigger message here than a vandalized robot.  The real story here is that two people were entrusted to be the guardian of a vulnerable individual (ok, robot) and failed in that duty.  This would be no different than if they discovered a lost child in the street.  Would they only help a boy or girl until they grew tired of them?  Brendan Spaar believes that the only reason that this did not happen in Canada or Europe is because people there took their duty seriously and made sure that the robot was in capable hands.  These vloggers abandoned the robot and the rest is history.  Instead of pointing the finger at the criminal behavior that ended the journey, maybe we should look at the lack of responsibility that allowed it to happen.

Source:  http://www.gizmoids.com/2015/08/hitchbot-the-hitchhiking-robot-that-relied-on-human-kindness-to-travel-meets-its-demise-in-the-us