DIY Robotic Suicide Booth Used In Australia

An 81 year-old Australian man used a DIY robotic suicide booth to kill himself yesterday.

He investigated the requirements for the device online; he was apparently able to download the basic plans for a device. After constructing a device that would fire a .22 semi-automatic pistol, he positioned himself in front of the device, and set it into motion. The man, whose name has not been released, despaired upon learning that he would no longer be able to live independently.

(Suicide booth from Futurama)

Science fiction fans may recall the Suicide Booths from the Futurama series; for only twenty-five cents, people (or robots) could enter the booth and be killed by robotically operated knives, saws and other implements of destruction. General Motors aired an ad about a robot thinking about suicide.

In the classic Trek episode A Taste of Armageddon, two warring planetary societies used what amounted to a computer game to wage war on each other without all that messy bombing and destruction of property. The "score" was settled by the end of every day, as people lined up dutifully at suicide booths.

Kurt Vonnegut used a similar idea in his very early stories like Welcome to the Monkey House; the Ethical Suicide Parlors were staffed by human beings.

Perhaps the earliest reference to this idea is the government lethal chamber from the 1895 story The Repairer of Reputations.

As I recall, John Varley used the idea of a computer-based interactive suicide note in his award-winning 1984 story Press Enter.

Via Man shot by killer robot; thanks to Moira for pointing out this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/21/2008)

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