HI-R-ME4 Robotics Research Corporation was supposed to be the "darling" of the high-tech world, but its recent failures have placed it in existential jeopardy.
"I don't know what went wrong! We developed HI-R-ME4 in an effort to create a high-functioning, artificially intelligent robot that would seek out and gain employment in a completely autonomous manner," explains founder, and lead engineer, Rainer Nusmear.
"The ME-4 unit is very basic in its humanoid-design, but highly functioning. It has the capacity to perform repetitive tasks for many hours, with the ability to lift up to 50lbs."
"What really sets the units apart from all other models in the industry, is the fact that the ME-4 unit is intelligent enough to search for employment. The unit has the ability to successfully complete an interview, and accept a job offer."
HI-R-ME4 has created ten prototype units. Four units work as assistants to research assistants and custodians within the company. The remaining units were deployed unsupervised to find work. They have all found gainful employment.
Unfortunately one of the units, who goes by the name of Russell, developed technical difficulties, alarming glitches, and despicable personality quirks. His story is a tragic and disappointing warning of the pitfalls and hazards that plague this growing industry.
Russell had great prospects in the beginning. He had secured a position in Cheap Mart as a cart collector, rustling up carts from around the parking lot, and dutifully bringing them in. The company was very pleased with Russell, lauding praise and adulation upon his creators at HI-R-ME4, especially Nusmear. Then, one day, circumstances began to change.
After a month into his employment, technical representatives received some troubling reports about Russell.
It was innocent enough at first. Russell would stop and chit-chat with curious patrons who approached him and wanted to know more about his origins, and how he ended up there. It slowed down Russell somewhat, but nothing that hampered his efficiency. Over time, the constant attention changed his personality algorithms, and altered emotional orientation patterns. In layman's terms Russell started becoming arrogant and lazy.
Russell was spoken to about running over his allotted break times and fraternizing with patrons. He accepted the criticism, begrudgingly, and the matter appeared to be settled. Unfortunately, it wasn't.
From that moment on, Russell became progressively worse. Instead of spending his breaks next to one of the annoying bake sale charity tables near the store's entrance, Russell could be found at the break table outside, tucked in next to the cart return doors. He contented himself with talking and laughing loudly, while using extreme profanity, with his seedier coworkers. He even picked up the habit of smoking cigarettes with them.
Things came to a head when the store manager confronted Russell outside after a customer complained that he had been yelling the "C" word at the top of his vocabulator. When the manager told Russell he was fired, Russell became physical, and a shoving match ensued in the parking lot. The police where called in, but by the time they arrived, he was long gone.
Nusmear called Russell on his internal cellular-receiver, but he wasn't answering. When Nusmear tried tracing him, he discovered that Russell had somehow ripped out his own tracking chip, and was thus untraceable.
Forty-eight hours after the incident, Nusmear finally got a lead on Russell's whereabouts. Police contacted him and reported that, "in the early morning hours, Russell was spotted spraying coolant from his radiator nozzle, located in his crotch, all over the bathroom floor of the local highway rest area. When he was surprised by an unwary traveler, he unleashed a slew of vulgarities, telling the man to, "Shit into his hat and pull it over his ears!"
The next sighting placed Russell in a local grocery store parking lot, where he was vandalizing vehicles with a baseball bat obtained while rummaging through a nearby dumpster. When officers finally caught up with him, Russell produced a pistol that some idiot had left loaded on the seat of a truck.
After a tense standoff lasting more than four hours, officers sent in a remote robotic negotiator, but after a twenty-minute exchange, the negotiations soured, and Russell savagely attacked the remote, smashing it to bits.
Nusmear finally arrived on the scene, but it was too late. SWAT units, having cleared the lot of innocent bystanders, were forced to take down Russell when he attacked the negotiation robot. An officer fired a laser guided TOW missile at Russell, blasting him into a thousand pieces, and thus killing him.
Nusmear was devastated at the loss of Russell, and the unforeseen failure of his becoming all too human.
"I'm undaunted by the prospects of numerous law suits, criminal charges, and hefty fines. No matter what, I believe in the HI-R-ME4 endeavor, and my determination and dedication to this grand project will never be deterred."